According to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales were down 1.4 percent in June but remain 9.5 percent above last year’s levels. The Pending Home Sales Index came in at 99.3 in June, down from 100.7 in May. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said buyer demand is strong but fewer available homes in the lower price ranges popular with first-time buyers and investors have lead to fewer contract signing opportunities. Pending home sales reflect contract signings but not closings. Regionally, pending sales were down in the Northeast, Midwest, and South but climbed 2.6 percent in the West. According to Yun, there have been delays in the closing process due to a surge in refinancing and a higher level of home purchases. More here and here.