Signed Contracts to Buy U.S. Homes Dips Slightly

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Signed contracts to buy U.S. homes dips slightlyBy MARTIN CRUTSINGER

WASHINGTON (AP) - A measure of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell only slightly in February to the second-highest level in nearly three years. The report suggests sales of previously occupied homes will keep rising in the coming months.

The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales fell to 104.8 in February. That's down from 105.2 in January, which was the highest reading since April 2010, when a homebuyer's tax credit was boosting sales.

There is generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale. In February, completed sales of previously occupied homes rose to the fastest pace in more than three years. The gains in both signed contracts and completed sales point to a housing recovery that is strengthening.

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