July was a busy month for pending home sales

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Pending sales of existing homes rose only modestly in July, but contract signings were up sharply from a year ago, and it was the 11th consecutive month for a year-over-year gain.

The National Association of Realtors says pending sales were up 0.5 percent from June, and up 7.4 percent from July 2014. July’s pending sales were the third highest this year.

“Led by a solid gain in the Northeast, contract activity in most of the country held steady last month, which bodes well for existing sales to maintain their recent elevated pace to close out the summer,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

The market for first-time homebuyers remains challenging.