CONTRACT SIGNINGS UP: The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose sharply in May, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. It was mainly due to an influx of spring buyers.

LEVEL STILL BELOW HEALTHY: An index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes rose more than 8 percent, to a reading of 88.8. A reading of 100 is considered healthy by economists.

NOT SO RELIABLE: Contract signings are usually a reliable way to gauge where the housing market is headed. But the Realtors group says a growing number of buyers have cancelled contracts after appraisals came in less than what they bid.