Pending home sales grew less then economists expected in August, rising 4.3% to a level of 82.3, according to an index released Monday by the National Association of Realtors.

The gauge of signed deals for used homes rose a revised 4.5% to 78.9 in July. Economists expected an 81.4 level. August pending homes sales were down 20.1% from 103.0 a year ago.

Regionally, pending sales were mostly higher. The Northeast saw a 2.9% decrease to 60.6, while sales rose 2.1% to 68.0 in the Midwest. In the South sales climbed 6.7% to 90.8, while in the West, pending sales gained 6.4% to 101.1.

“The recent increases, however, followed a pronounced decline over the May-June period and left activity in the lower portion of the historical range,” said Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Capital Markets. “The plummet in May and June reflected a cooling in activity after the expiration of the tax credit. We suspect that many potential buyers are sitting on the sideline hoping that the credit will be reauthorized in coming months or that prices will ease further.”

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