September’s pending sales of U.S. resale homes fell 4.6 percent from August as credit tightened and economic conditions worsened, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in September, declined to 89.2 in September from an upwardly revised reading of 93.5 in August, but is 1.6 percent higher than September 2007 when it stood at 87.8.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said in a statement that pending sales have been above year-ago levels for two months in a row. "The month-to-month weakening in pending home sales is understandable, but because the index remains above year-ago levels it means we’re still in a broad period of stabilization," he said. "Conditions remain mixed around the country, but markets that are showing annual sales gains include Long Island, N.Y.; Boston; Minneapolis; Denver and Washington, D.C., in addition to consistent solid gains in California and Florida."

The PHSI in the West rose 3.7 percent to 113.6 in September and remains 39.5 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index slipped 0.7 percent to 83.3 and is 3.1 percent below September 2007. The index in the South fell 7.9 percent to 89 in September and is 11.3 percent below a year ago. In the Northeast, the index dropped 16.8 percent to 66.4 and is 9.4 percent below September 2007.

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