US pending home sales fell in November

US Home Sales

Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes declined in November for the third time in four months, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The NAR’s pending home sales index slipped 0.9% to 106.9. The NAR said the index rose slightly more in October than initially estimated.

Economists predicted a 0.5% increase in November.

Pending home contracts officially change to sales after a one or two month period.

The declines in recent months could point to slower growth in home buying in 2016, when interest rates are expected to rise.

Mortgage rates have begun to slowly climb since the Federal Reserve announced plans to raise interest rates on December 16. Fed policymakers are expected to continue raising rates in 2016.

Pending home sales had been posting strong gains earlier in the year and were up 2.7% from a year ago.

Contracts fell 3% in the Northeast in November from a month earlier and were down 5.5% in the West.

In the south contracts increased by 1.3% and moved upwards by 1% in the Midwest.