US pending home sales nudged upward in September

WASHINGTON — Pending home sales rose slightly in September, but contract signings are depressed from a year ago as affordability has become a greater challenge for would-be buyers.

The National Association of Realtors says that its pending home sales index increased 0.5 percent last month to 104.6. But over the past year, this metric declined 1 percent.

Homebuying has slowed as mortgage rates have jumped in the past year, one of the consequences of President Donald Trump's deficit-funded tax cuts and tightening of interest rates by the Federal Reserve. The interest charged for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.86 percent this week, up from 3.94 percent a year ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

Pending sales are a barometer of home purchases that are completed a month or two later.

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