The pending home sales index, an index tracking the level of sales contracts on previously owned homes, dropped at a faster rate than expected in the month of September, after an upwardly-revised number in August. The index came in at 89.2, down 4.6% from the unexpectedly high 93.5 reading in August. Economists were expecting a less hostile 90.6 reading, though. The index, which is considered a leading indicator of existing home sales, is up 1.6% from the prior year.

Three of the four regions were negative for the month (via

The West rose 3.7 percent to 113.6 in September and remains 39.5 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index slipped 0.7 percent to 83.3 and is 3.1 percent below September 2007. The index in the South fell 7.9 percent to 89.0 in September and is 11.3 percent below a year ago. In the Northeast, the index dropped 16.8 percent to 66.4 and is 9.4 percent below September 2007.

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