US pending home sales flat in September

FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, file photo, a "sale pending" sits atop a realty sign outside a home for sale in Surfside, Fla. The National Association of Realtors releases its September 2015 report on pending home sales on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes was flat in September, reflecting an ongoing nationwide shortage of homes being listed for sale.

The National Association of Realtors says its pending home sales index was 106 in September, the same as August’s revised number. It’s the index’s lowest point since a 104.7 reading in January of 2015 and 3.5 percent lower than a year ago. It has fallen on an annual basis five of the past six months.

Pending sales contracts are a barometer of future purchases. Sales are typically completed a month or two after a contract is signed.

Homebuyers are caught in a period of rising home values, a limited selection of properties on the market and a shortage of savings.