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Pending real estate sales index drops in July

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An index that gauges pending sales of existing homes was down 16 percent in July compared to July 2005 and fell 7 percent from its level in June 2006, the National Association of Realtors reported today. The Pending Home Sales Index is derived from pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed and the transaction has not closed, and pending sales typically are finalized within one to two months of signing. 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. Regionally, the index in the West declined 5.5 percent in July to 103.1 and was 20.3 percent below July 2005. The index in the South dropped 6.4 percent to 122.3 in July and was 11.3 percent below a year ago. In the Northeast, the index fell 7.7 percent in July to 92.1 and was 15.5 percent below July 2005. The index in the Midwest dropped 9 percent to...