updated 5/7/2008 10:19:02 AM ET 2008-05-07T14:19:02

An industry group said Wednesday that pending U.S. home sales dropped to a new low in February, signaling the housing slump has yet to bottom out even as the spring sell season gets under way.

The National Association of Realtors' seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes fell to 83.0 from a downwardly revised February reading of 83.8, the index's previous low. The index stood at 103.9 in March 2007.

Wall Street economists polled by Thomson/IFR had predicted the index would slip to a reading of 83.8.

A reading of 100 is equal to the average level of sales activity in 2001, when the index started.

Falling home prices and a tight credit environment have pummeled the housing market and sent potential buyers to the sidelines to wait out the slump. So far, there's been no evidence that the traditionally strong spring selling season is jump-starting any sales activity.

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