This is a summary. To read the whole story subscribe to BostonGlobe.com
WASHINGTON — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes was essentially flat in January, a possible sign of a softening real estate market.
The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index inched up 0.1 last month to 95. The index has fallen 9 percent over the past 12 months as sales momentum has faded.
Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases: A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a signed contract and a completed sale.