U.S. home buyers signed more contracts to buy existing homes in July, rebounding from a drop in June. The National Association of Realtors' monthly "pending home sales" index rose 3.3 percent but is still 2.1 percent below its level in July 2013. "Interest rates are lower than they were a year ago, price growth continues to moderate and total housing inventory is at its highest level since August 2012," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "The increase in the number of new and existing homes for sale is creating less competition and is giving prospective buyers more time to review their options before submitting an offer." Regionally, pending home sales in the Northeast jumped 6.2 percent in July from June, and are 8.3 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, sales fell 0.4 percent from June and are 6.4 percent below July 2013. The South rose 4.2 percent month-to-month and fell 1 percent for the year. Sales in the West rose 4.0 percent from June, but remain 6.0 percent below July 2013. Mortgage rates have not moved much this summer, although they are hovering near the lows of the year.
- Diana Olick, CNBC.com