By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Americans are inking a lot of deals to buy homes.
In October the National Association of Realtors recorded an unprecedented ninth consecutive month of increases in the number of signed contracts.
Although these are not closed sales, and some deals can fall through, signed contracts are a good indicator of where the housing market is headed.
Between September and October NAR's Pending Home Sales Index rose 3.7% to 114.1 from 110 in October. But the index is 31.8% higher than a year ago, when it was 86.6. That's the biggest year-over-year gain in the history of the index.
The PHSI is also at its highest level since March 2006, and the rise confounded expert expectations. A panel of industry analysts put together by Briefing.com had forecast a 1% drop in new contracts.
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