The pending home sales index, an index tracking the level of sales contracts on previously owned homes, dropped another 0.7% in October, after a upwardly-revised 4.3% decline in November. The index came in at 88.9, down from the 89.5 reading the previous month. Economists were expecting a more drastic 86.5 reading, though, as things were expected to be very ugly. It just wasn’t so, as sales were positive in two of the four regins measured (via

In the South, the index jumped 7.8 percent to 95.9 in October but remains 2.9 percent below a year ago. In the Northeast the index rose 0.6 percent to 68.1 but is 14.1 percent below October 2007. The index in the Midwest declined 4.3 percent to 79.7 in October and is 6.8 percent below a year ago. In the West, the index fell 8.7 percent to 103.7 but is 17.4 percent higher than October 2007.

The index, which is considered a leading indicator of existing home sales, is down 1.0% from the prior year.

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