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Sales contracts to buy US homes rose last month

Sales contracts to buy US homes rose last month

CREATED Oct 25, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Slightly more Americans signed contracts last month to buy homes, an increase that signals further gains in the housing recovery.

The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements rose in September to a reading of 99.5. That's up from August's reading of 99.2 but below a two-year high of 101.9 reached in July. Contracts are up 14.5 percent from a year ago.

A reading above 100 is considered healthy. The index bottomed at 75.88 in June 2010 after a homebuyer's tax credit expired.

The pending home sales index is a measure of the number of signed contracts to purchase homes. The index can signal where the housing market is headed because a signed contract usually results in a final sale one or two months later.