Contracts For US Homes Dipped In February

The National Association of Realtors says its index of sales agreements declined 0.5 percent last month to a reading of 96.5

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy U.S. homes dipped in February from nearly a two-year high.

The National Association of Realtors says its index of sales agreements declined 0.5 percent last month to a reading of 96.5. January's reading of 97 was the highest since April 2010, the last month buyers could qualify for a federal home-buying tax credit. A reading of 100 is considered healthy.

Contract signings typically indicate where the housing market is headed. There's a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed deal.

More signings are among recent signs of a slight pick-up in the housing market. January and February made up the best winter for re-sales in five years, when the housing crisis began. And builders are more confident.

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