Conventional wisdom has it that after the spring and summer sales season, the real estate market cools off. Home sellers wait until next year and buyers are too busy with the school year, holidays, and winter weather to bother shopping for a home. There is an argument to be made, however, that fall is a great time to shop for a home and, according to new numbers from the National Association of Realtors, many Americans agree. In fact, the NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index – which measures the number of contracts to buy homes signed during the month – was up 1.5 percent in September and is now 2.4 percent higher than last year. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says demand was strong, particularly in the West and South. “Buyer demand is holding up impressively well this fall with Realtors reporting much stronger foot traffic compared to a year ago,” Yun said. “Although depressed inventory levels are keeping home prices elevated in most of the country, steady job gains and growing evidence that wages are finally starting to tick up are encouraging more households to consider buying a home.” The Pending Home Sales Index is considered a good indicator of future home sales because it measures contracts to buy, rather than closings. More here.