Pending home sales grew 1.7% to an index reading of 106.4 in November, after a downwardly revised 5.0% increase to 104.6 in October, according to a report released Friday by the National Association of Realtors.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted that the index would be up 1.0%.
October's rise was initially reported as 5.2% to 104.8.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001.
Year-over-year the pending homes sales index is up 9.8% from last November, when the index was 96.9.
The index reached its highest level since 111.3 in April 2010, when buyers were rushing to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit, but excluding the months affected by tax stimulus, the index hasn't hit this level since February 2007 when it was 107.9.
Regionally, pending sales were mostly higher. The Northeast saw a 5.2% increase to 83.3, while sales rose 0.1% in the Midwest to 103.8. In the South, sales held at 117.2, and sales grew 4.2% to 110.1 in the West.
"Even with market frictions related to the mortgage process, home contract activity continues to improve," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. "Even with market frictions related to the mortgage process, home contract activity continues to improve."
NAR estimated existing-home sales should rise between 8% and 9% next year, to 5.1 million, after climbing 10% this year. Median existing-home prices are seen gaining just over 4% in 2013, after jumping 7% in 2012.