Housing hits a bump in the road

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in February, suggesting a loss of momentum in the housing market after recent signs of improvement.

The National Association of Realtors said on Monday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in February, slipped 0.5 percent to 96.5. Signed contracts become sales after a month or two.

The report was the latest in a series to suggest a pause in the tentative housing market recovery in February and a weak start to the spring selling season.

However, given that contracts were up 1.5 percent between January and February, there is a chance that home resales could rise in March, economists said. read more

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