The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in January to the highest level in nearly two years, supporting the view that the housing market is gradually coming back.
The National Association of Realtors says its index of sales agreements rose 2 percent last month to a reading of 97. That’s the highest since April 2010, the last month that buyers could qualify for a federal home-buying tax credit.
A reading of 100 is considered healthy.
Contract signings typically indicate where the housing market is headed. There’s a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed deal. But a growing number of buyers have cancelled contracts at the last minute.