After three months of weaker volume, homebuyers returned to the market in October, especially in the South.
The pending home sales index, which measures signed contracts to buy existing homes, rose 3.5 percent for the month, but is still 0.6 percent lower than October 2016. That is the highest level since June, but September's reading was revised down.
The index, from the National Association of Realtors, is a forward-looking indicator for closed sales one to two months out.
Sales were strongest in the South, jumping 7.4 percent for the month and 2 percent compared with a year ago. That was likely due to pent-up demand after two major hurricanes at the end of the summer. Realtors in Houston have remarked at how quickly the market bounced back following the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.
Sales were higher in the Northeast by 0.5 percent monthly, and in the Midwest by 2.8 percent. In the West, where prices are highest and inventory is slim, homes experienced a monthly decline of 0.7 percent. All three regions were lower compared with October 2016.