An index that tracks pending home sales posted a 6.5% decline in August and stood 21.5% below the level recorded a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.The Pending Home Sales Index is based on sale contracts signed each month. The August reading was 85.5, down from 108.9 a year earlier. "Fewer contracts were being written because of mortgage availability issues, and a separate Internet survey of our members shows [that] more than 10% of contracts fell through at the last moment in August, primarily the result of canceled loan commitments," said NAR senior economist Lawrence Yun. "The volume of activity we're seeing today is below sustainable market fundamentals because some creditworthy people are trying to buy homes, but can't because of the credit crunch." The NAR can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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