Contracts to buy US homes hits 2-year high in July

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Associated Press

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 29 at 12:01 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans signed the most contracts to buy homes in July than at any other point in the last two years, further evidence of a housing recovery.

The National Association of Realtors says its index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes jumped 2.4 percent in July to 101.7. That's higher than June's reading of 99.3. It's also the highest reading since April 2010, the last month that buyers could qualify for a federal home-buying tax credit.

A reading of 100 is considered healthy. The index is 12.4 percent higher than July 2011. It bottomed at 75.88 in June 2010 after the tax credit expired.

Contract signings indicate where the housing market is headed. There's generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed deal.

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