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Measure of signed contracts to buy US homes rises to highest in 3 years in April

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes ticked up in April to the highest level in three years. The increase points to further strength in home sales in the coming months.

The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales rose 0.3 percent to 106. That's the highest since April 2010, when a homebuyer tax credit inflated sales.

Signed contracts have jumped 10.3 percent in the past 12 months. There is generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, a 3 ½-year high. More buyers are bidding on a limited supply of homes for sale. That's pushing up prices.