Buying a house takes some time. Typically, there are several weeks between the time an offer is accepted and the deal is closed. That's why contract signings are a closely watched measure of housing-market health. They're a good indicator of future home sales and a gauge of how busy the market currently is. The National Association of Realtors tracks contract signings with their monthly Pending Home Sales Index. In September, it showed a 2.3 percent decrease from the month before, pushing it 8 percent lower than the same time last year. So what does this mean? Well, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, it's likely a sign that home buyers were becoming less active as the summer market wrapped up. “Contract transactions slowed a bit in September and are showing signs of a calmer home price trend, as the market is running comfortably ahead of pre-pandemic activity,' Yun said. “Some potential buyers have momentarily paused their home search with intentions to resume in 2022.” Fewer active buyers could be good news, though, as it would help slow down price increases and reduce competition for home shoppers looking to buy before the end of the year.