Homebuyers signed fewer contracts for existing homes in January compared to December, but more compared to January 2009, according to a report released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors.

The index dropped 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 90.4 from an upwardly revised 97.8 the month before; the index rose 12.3 percent year-over-year, however, from 80.5, the report said.

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