More Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in March compared to the prior month.

The National Association of Realtors says that its pending home sales index climbed 3.8% to 105.8. Home sales have been recovering as mortgage rates have retreated after the average 30-year rate peaked at just below 5% in November. Still, pending home sales are running 1.2% below their pace a year ago.

The pace of home price growth has also slowed after years of being consistently higher than wage gains, reducing the affordability pressures for would-be buyers.

Pending sales is a measure of home purchases that are usually completed a month or two later.

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