The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes increased in November, the fourth increase since contract signings hit a low in June.
The National Association of Realtors says its index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes increased 3.5 percent this past month from a downwardly revised reading in October. Contract signings were up in the West and Northeast, but down in the South and Midwest.
Signings are 22.1 percent above June's index reading, which was the lowest level since the private group began tracking the data in 2001.
Still, signings are 5 percent lower than November 2009 when buyers were scrambling to close purchases to qualify for the first federal tax credit.
Even with the good-news blip in the final months, 2010 is shaping up to be the worst for home sales since 1997.