Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes fell unexpectedly in September, a warning sign that the housing market recovery may be stumbling.
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The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, dropped 2.3 percent to 106.8, the second lowest reading of 2015. The index was up 3.0 percent from the same month a year ago.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast pending home sales rising 1.0 percent last month.
Pending home contracts become sales after a month or two, and last month's decrease suggests a softening in home sales after more robust levels earlier this year.
Contracts fell in all four major U.S. regions in September. The Northeast recorded the biggest drop with a 4.0 percent decline. But contracts in all regions still remain above their levels from a year ago.
(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Paul Simao)