When an offer on a home has been accepted, that home’s sale is considered pending. It isn’t final until closing, which typically takes place a few weeks later. But, because most accepted offers result in completed sales, the National Association of Realtors tracks contract signings as an indicator of what sales should look like in the near future. In September, the NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index showed a slight increase from the month before, though it’s still below where it was at the same time last year. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says the month-over-month increase is a good sign. “This shows that buyers are out there on the sidelines, waiting to jump in once more inventory becomes available and the price is right,” Yun said. In other words, though tight inventory and the end of the summer season may lead to slowing sales in the near term, home buyer demand remains elevated. Additionally, Yun points out that compared to data going back to the year 2000, affordability levels are favorable and should help keep housing demand steady in the coming months.