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January 5, 2010
After they rushed to cash in on a government tax perk the previous month, Americans signed a great deal fewer sales contracts in November, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors. NAR's index of pending home sales—which uses signed contracts, not closings—dropped 16 percent from October to November. Although the measure remained 15.5 percent above its year-earlier level, November's reading was significantly less encouraging than October's, when the index jumped nearly 32 percent higher than October 2008. While economists had predicted a modest monthly decline, the report was much worse than expected. "The consensus was for [pending home sales] to be down 2% ... instead they were down a big daddy whopper 16%," Mark Hanson of the Field Check Group said in a report. "Now that's a miss."
[Check out Home Sales Poised to Dip After Tax-Credit Rush.]