WASHINGTON - Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in June, as the real estate market appears to have cooled off this summer.
The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index slipped 1.1 percent to 102.7 last month. The index remains 7.3 percent below its level a year ago.
Sales have been slowed by a mix of meager wage growth, rising home prices, and mortgage rates that rose steadily through the end of last year.
Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.
"Activity is notably higher than earlier this year as prices have moderated and inventory levels have improved," Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, said in a statement. "However, supply shortages still exist in parts of the country, wages are flat, and tight credit conditions are deterring a higher number of potential buyers from fully taking advantage of lower interest rates."
Signed contracts in June fell in the Northeast and South. They rose slightly in the Midwest and West. Pending sales in all four U.S. regions are below last year's pace.