US pending home sales slump 4.7 percent in January

US pending home sales slump 4.7 percent in January
In this Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, photo a real estate sale pending sign hangs in front of an existing home, in Walpole, Mass. On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the National Association of Realtors releases its January report on pending home sales. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The pace of Americans signing contracts to buy homes fell 4.7 percent in January to its lowest level in more than three years, due to a lack of homes for sale, higher prices and rising interest rates.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its index of pending sales fell to 104.6, its lowest reading since October of 2014.

More Americans are looking to buy homes as the economy has improved, but prices continue to rise amid a dearth of supply.

Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday that U.S. home prices rose at the fastest 12-month pace in more than three years in 2017.

Last week, Freddie Mac said that the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.40 percent, the highest it’s been since April 2014.