Sales contracts on existing single-family homes reached a record level in August, according to a National Association of Realtors survey, countering perceptions of a slowdown in the housing market.The NAR index of pending sales rose 3.2% to a record 129.1 in August, up from 125.1 in July. The August index reading is up 4.7% from that of the same month in 2004. "Home sales remain at remarkable levels," NAR chief economist David Lereah said, although some of the sales may not close because of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. "Even so, national sales should stay close to record over the next two months," he said. The NAR considers its pending sales index to be a leading indicator of sales that will close in the next one or two months. The association can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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