ECONOMY

Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in January

Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes last month as rising prices and a dwindling supply of available homes appeared to frustrate many potential buyers, especially in the West.

The National Association of Realtors says that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 2.8 percent to 106.4, the lowest level in a year.

With hiring solid and the stock market at record highs, Americans are confident in the economy and are more interested in buying a home than at any time since the Great Recession, the NAR says.

But the price of a typical home jumped by more than double the pace of wage gains in January from a year earlier, and mortgage rates have risen in the past six months. That has slowed the pace of contract signings.