The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its pending home sales index fell 1.5% to a reading of 104.3. Pending sales declined 2% over the past year.
Sales have been hampered even with average 30-year mortgage rates slipping below 4% this week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. That average is down from nearly 5% in November, though cheaper home loans have done little to boost real estate purchases. Home prices have risen faster than incomes in 78% of U.S. areas since 2012.
Pending sales is a measure of home purchases that are usually completed a month or two later.