You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Signed contracts to buy US homes dips slightly

Despite the drop in pending homes sales, signed contracts are 8.4 percent higher than a year ago.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Despite the drop in pending homes sales, signed contracts are 8.4 percent higher than a year ago.

WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in February, but the level stayed near a three-year high, and analysts believe sales of previously occupied homes will keep rising in the coming months.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales dipped to 104.8 in February. That’s down from January’s reading of 105.2 — the highest since April 2010, when a home buyer’s tax credit was boosting sales.

Continue reading below

Signed contracts are 8.4 percent higher than a year ago.

There is generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.

In February, completed sales of previously occupied homes rose to a seasonally adjusted pace of 4.98 million, the fastest in more than three years. The gains in both signed contracts and completed sales point to a housing recovery that is strengthening, although resales remain below the 5.5 million that are consistent with healthy markets.

Steady hiring and near-record-low mortgage rates have encouraged more Americans to buy homes. More people are also moving out on their own after living with friends and relatives in the recession.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.