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Signed contracts to buy US homes plunge 8.7 percent last month, evidence of housing slowdown

Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy previously occupied homes in December, suggesting a slowdown in real estate. Pending home sales fell to the lowest point since October 2011.

The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index dropped 8.7 percent last month to 92.4. That's the seventh straight monthly decline for the index, which previews upcoming sales. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a signed contract and a completed sale.

Rising mortgage rates and price increases crimped sales in recent months. Cold weather in December also stalled home purchases.

The housing market benefited from historically low mortgage rates for much of last year. Sales of previously occupied homes totaled 5.1 million in 2013, the highest in seven years, the trade group said last week.

Bank Rates

Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
30 Y Fixed Graph 3.85% dw 3.87%  
15 Y Fixed Graph 2.96% dw 2.98%  
30 Y Fixed Jumbo Graph 4.28% up 4.23%  
5/1 ARM Graph 3.14% dw 3.19%  
5/1 Jumbo ARM Graph 3.80% dw 3.82%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
$30K HELOC Graph 4.38% -- 4.38%  
$50K HELOC Graph 4.06% -- 4.06%  
$30K Loan Graph 4.54% dw 4.56%  
$50K Loan Graph 4.19% dw 4.20%  
$75K Loan Graph 4.19% dw 4.20%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
36 M New Graph 3.07% dw 3.08%  
36 M Used Graph 3.29% dw 3.30%  
48 M New Graph 3.06% -- 3.06%  
48 M Used Graph 2.96% up 2.87%  
60 M New Graph 3.13% dw 3.14%  
Loan Type Graph Yield +/- Last Week
6 month Graph 0.37% up 0.36%  
1 yr Graph 0.61% up 0.60%  
5 yr Graph 1.48% -- 1.48%