By Xavier Fontdegloria

The number of houses going under contract in the U.S. decreased slightly in September from August's record high, data from the National Association of Realtors showed Thursday. Here are the report's main takeaways:

--The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, fell 2.2% to 130.0 in September. The decrease follows four consecutive months of extended gains, reaching in August the highest level in the historical series.

--Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected the indicator to grow at a rate of 3%. In August, the index had increased by 8.8%.

--Pending home sales were up 20.5% in September compared with the same month a year earlier.

--"The demand for home buying remains super strong, even with a slight monthly pullback in September, and we're still likely to end the year with more homes sold overall in 2020 than in 2019," said Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors' chief economist. Mr. Yun expected more contract signings in the near future, fueled by persistent low mortgage rates and some degree of a continuing jobs recovery.

--By region, the index only climbed in September in the Northeast, by 2%. The highest decline was registered in the Midwest, by 3.2% compared with the previous month, followed by the South and the West, with declines of 3% and 2.6%, respectively.

 

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 29, 2020 10:14 ET (14:14 GMT)

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