An index that gauges pending home sales slipped in January for the fifth month in a row, and was down 4.8 percent since January 2005, the National Association of Realtors reported today. The Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in January, slipped 1.1 percent from December 2005 to 116.3 in January, the association reported. In August, the index reached a record of 128.2. The index is derived from pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed; pending home sales typically are finalized within one or two months of signing, the association reported. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, the first year to be examined, and was the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales. David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said the index appears to be flattening. "This looks like we're touching down for the soft landing we've been expecting," h...
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