RISMEDIA, Jan. 5, 2007-(CNN.com)-Pending sales of existing U.S. homes fell 0.5% in November but held above the low hit in July, suggesting the housing market is stabilizing, a real estate agents' trade association said on Thursday.
The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in November, fell to 107.0 from 107.5 in October.
Analysts had been expecting a modest rise in the index. The median forecast of a Reuter's poll of economists was for a November index level of 108.0.
The November level was 11.4% below the year-earlier level, a shorter drop than the 13.2% year-on-year decline posted in October.
The trade association read the smaller decrease from year-ago levels as a sign that the troubled U.S. housing market was stabilizing.
"The index is pointing toward fairly stable home sales in the near future," David Lereah, chief economist for the trade association said in a statement. "That is another indicator that home sales likely bottomed-out in September."
Home sales climbed the two months after September.
The index covers pending sales of existing single-family units, condominiums and co-ops. A home sale is pending when a contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed.
Pending sales typically close within one or two months of contract signing.
For more information, visit http://www.cnn.com.