US pending home sales slip 0.7 percent in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in November as higher mortgage rates and prices squeezed would-be buyers out of the market, especially in the West.

The National Association of Realtors says its pending home sales index dipped 0.7 percent last month to 101.4. The index based on contract signings has dropped 7.7 percent over the past year and has recorded 11 straight year-over-year decreases.

The rate on 30-year, fixed rate mortgages is now 4.55 percent, up from 3.99 percent a year ago.

"The latest decline in contract signings implies more short-term pullback in the housing sector," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.