PENDING HOME SALES RISE: 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 NUMBER: The National Association of Realtors says its index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes jumped to 101.7. That's the highest reading since April 2010, the last month when homebuyers could qualify for a federal tax credit. A reading of 100 is considered healthy.
CONTEXT: Contract signings typically indicate where the housing market is headed. There's usually a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed purchase.