Housing Market

Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in January

Fewer Americans signed contracts to purchase homes last month as rising prices, higher mortgage rates and a dwindling supply of available homes appeared to frustrate many potential buyers, especially in the West.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 2.8 percent to 106.4, the lowest level in a year.

The decline suggests that higher mortgage rates, which have risen by about a half-percentage point since the presidential election, may be starting to bite into sales. And the number of homes for sale has fallen to near-record lows, forcing many would-be buyers to bid up prices. The combination of higher prices...

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