May 30, 2019 / 2:10 PM / 6 months ago

U.S. pending home sales fall unexpectedly in April

FILE PHOTO: A home for sale is seen in Santa Monica, California, U.S. on March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Contracts to buy previously owned homes unexpectedly fell in April, the National Association of Realtors said on Thursday.

The NAR’s pending home sales index dropped to a reading of 104.3, down 1.5% from the prior month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast pending home sales would rise 0.9% last month.

March’s index was revised slightly higher to 105.9, the highest reading since July 2018.

Pending home contracts are seen as a forward-looking indicator of the health of the housing market because they become sales one to two months later.Compared to one year ago, pending home sales were down 2.0%, marking the 16th straight month of annual decreases.

Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao

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