The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index, which measures contract signings but not closings, is 14.4 percent above July 2010 despite falling 1.3 percent from June. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said contract activity has been fairly comparable to the first three months of the year and well above April’s low. According to Yun, the underlying factors for improving sales, such as rising rent and high affordability conditions, are developing. Pending sales of existing homes are well above year-ago levels in all regions and are up 20.6 percent in the West and 18.8 percent in the Midwest. More here.