The slowdown in home sales continued through December, according to a leading indicator of existing-home sales that has declined for four consecutive months.The National Association of Realtors reported that its index of pending home sales fell from 120.0 in November to 116.4 in December, a 3% drop. The seasonally adjusted annual index peaked at 129.2 in August. Despite the slowdown, NAR chief economist David Lereah said mortgage applications have trended up in recent weeks, and he is looking for a pickup in sales. "So we shouldn't be surprised to see pending home sales rise in the next couple of months," Mr. Lereah said. The NAR pending home sales index fell 8.1% in the West and 9.3% in the Midwest. The index rose 2.3% in the South and 1.5% in the Northeast. The NAR can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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