According to the National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index, the number of contracts to buy houses signed during the month of October was 1.1 percent below September’s level. However, pending sales remained above average for the sixth-consecutive month and above year-before levels for the second-straight month. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said despite the slight decline, contract signings remain at a healthy pace. “In addition to low interest rates, buyers entering the market this autumn are being lured by the increase in homes for sale and less competition from investors paying cash,” he said. The index – which is measured on a scale where 100 is considered an average level of activity – was at 104.1 in October. Regionally, pending home sales were above year-before levels in the Northeast, South, and West, while the Midwest fell 3 percent below last year’s reading. Also, the median existing-home price for all housing types was $208,300, 5.5 percent above October 2013. More here.