The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index rose 5.2 percent in July but is still 19.1 percent below last year’s level. The data reflects signed contracts, not closings, and is considered an indicator of future existing-home sales. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the housing recovery looks to be a long process. Yun believes home sales will remain soft in the months ahead and feels conditions will continue to benefit buyers through the end of the year. More here, here, and here.