Sep 28, 11:55 AM EDT

US pending home sales fall in August

AP Photo
AP Photo/Bill Sikes

Buy AP Photo Reprints
Painting Tips
Kid's Room Decor
How to Stage Your Home
Designing for Small Spaces
Tree Houses
Green Remodeling
Universal Design
Home Theater Basics
Home security products
Basement Renovations
How to Prep a Guest Room
Preparing your garden for winter
Go inside the smart home
Existing home sales interactive
Garage makeovers add value to homes
Keys to know when buying a condo
Real estate appraisal complaints
Trends in home offices
Baby-proofing your home
Latest bathroom trends
Latest trends in pools

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in August, as pending sales slumped amid broader concerns about the U.S. stock market and global economy.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 1.4 percent to 109.4 last month. Signed contracts to purchase homes have climbed a healthy 6.1 percent over the past 12 months, aided by steady job growth and low mortgage rates.

The August figured indicate that home sales lack the stamina to keep accelerating. Uncertainty in the financial markets and rising prices for homes are stirring doubts about affordability for many would-be buyers.

Employers have continued to hire at a steady rate in recent months, yet wage growth has been running below the increase in home prices.

The median home sales price has increased 4.7 percent over the past year, more than double the increase in average hourly pay. And people who invested their down payments savings in stocks have suffered losses since August. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has tumbled 9.2 percent since the beginning of last month.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A lag of a month or two usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.

Fewer contracts were signed in the Northeast, Midwest and South in August, while the West experienced gains.

Completed sales of existing homes also tumbled in August. They dropped 4.8 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.31 million, the lowest level since April.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.