In August, pending home sales slipped slightly, falling 1 percent from the month before, according to the National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index. But despite the decline, pending sales – which reflect contract signings, not closings – were still at their second-highest level in a year and remain above average for the fourth month in a row. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the decline was likely due to slowing investor activity and fewer distressed sales. “With investors pulling back, the market is shifting more towards traditional and first-time buyers who rely on mortgages to purchase a home,” Yun said. In fact, over the past two years, first-time home buyers have represented less than a third of monthly home purchases. But Yun believes first-time buyer participation should gradually improve, as the job market continues to rebound and incomes begin to rise. Regionally, pending home sales were down in the Midwest, South, and Northeast. In the West, they rose for the fourth-straight month. More here.