Pending U.S. home sales fell 1.5% in December to the second-lowest reading on record. The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes fell to a reading of 85.9 from a downwardly revised November index of 87.2. The reading was just short of the record low of 85.5 it hit in August, at the peak of the worldwide credit squeeze.
The Realtors group also lowered its forecast for U.S. existing home sales this year. It now projects sales will fall to 5.4 million, down from 5.7 million in 2007.