Signed contracts to buy existing homes fell for the fifth straight month in October, as the government shutdown added to an overall slowdown in the U.S. housing market. So-called pending home sales eased 0.6 percent from an upwardly revised September reading and are down 1.6 percent from October 2012, according to the National Association of Realtors.
This is the lowest sales pace since December 2012. Pending home sales are an indicator of closed sales in November and December.
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"The government shutdown in the first half of last month sidelined some potential buyers. In a survey, 17 percent of Realtors reported delays in October, mostly from waiting for IRS income verification for mortgage approval," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors in a release.