Home Sales Up, but Long Way to Go

August was a surprisingly busy month for homebuyers. Pending home sales, which count the number of buyers who signed contracts for homes, increased 4.3 percent in August for the second consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors. But even with the rise, that level is 20 percent below the same month's numbers from last year. Despite falling home prices and interest rates, would-be buyers are holding off on purchases due to uncertainty about the economy and the job market. The area with the biggest jump in pending sales was the South, with a 7 percent increase; on the other end, pending sales in the Northeast fell almost 3 percent.