WASHINGTON Contracts for pending sales of previously owned homes fell faster than expected in January to the slowest pace in three months, data from a real estate trade group showed on Monday.
The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in January, declined 2.8 percent to 88.9 from a downwardly revised index of 91.5 in December. That is the second straight monthly decline and the slowest pace since October.
Economists polled by Reuters ahead of the report were expecting pending home sales to decline by 2.2 percent.
"We should not expect the recovery to be in a straight upward path - it will zig-zag at times," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.