The Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index is up 4.1 percent from a year ago, the third straight month of annual gains and the largest gain since August of 2013. These contracts are an indicator of closed sales in the next one to two months.

Signed contracts to buy existing homes increased 0.8 percent from a downwardly-revised October reading, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), due to favorable mortgage rates and easing home prices.

“The consistent economic growth and steady hiring we’ve seen the second half of this year is giving buyers enough assurance to consider purchasing a home before year’s end,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist in a release. “With rents now rising at a seven-year high, historically low rates and moderating price growth are likely to entice more buyers to enter the market in upcoming months.”

Regionally, pending home sales rose 1.4 percent in the Northeast month-to-month, fell 0.4 percent in the Midwest, rose 1.3 percent in the South and increased 0.4 percent in the West.

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