The National Association of Realtor’s Pending Home Sales Index measures contract signings and is an indicator of future existing-home sales. In September, the index was up 0.3 percent over August and 14.5 percent above last year’s level. It was the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year improvement. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said home contract activity remains at an elevated level when compared to recent years and should continue its upward trend in 2013. Pending home sales were up in every region of the country and are showing double-digit increases over last year in the Northeast, South, and Midwest. According to the NAR, existing-home sales should close 2012 at 4.6 million, which is an increase of 9.0 percent over 2011. More here and here.