10:30 AM » Pending home sales fall 1% in August
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- A gauge of pending home sales fell 1% in August, pulling back from an 11-month high in July, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. Signaling that upcoming closings of existing homes are likely to slow down, the index of pending home sales hit a seasonally adjusted 104.7 in August, compared with 105.8 in July. Last month's drop is likely due to waning investor activity as the pool of cheap, distressed properties dries up. By region, August's gauge of pending home sales fell 3% in the Northeast, 2.1% in the Midwest and 1.4% in the South. Meanwhile, the gauge rose 2.6% in the West. Rising mortgage rates and prices cut home sales this year, and August's gauge of pending deals was down 2.2% from the year-earlier period. Existing-home sales for all of 2014 are expected to hit 4.94 million, below 2013's final tally of 5.09 million, NAR forecast. Pending sales typically close within two months. An index reading of 100 equals 2001's average contract activity level.