NAR’s just-released Pending Home Sales Index for October shows a drop of 1.6 percent from a year ago — that puts the index (which measures contract signings, but not closings) at its lowest level in a year.

Part of that drop may have been caused by the 16-day federal government shutdown at the beginning of October, according to NAR. Because of that, lenders could not get some income verification documents from the IRS, putting some contracts on hold. According to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, “17 percent of Realtors® reported delays in October, mostly from waiting for IRS income verification for mortgage approval.”

Despite this, Yun sees good news on the horizon: NAR expects existing-home sales for 2013 to be nearly 10 percent higher than last year (just above 5.1 million), with the median price nationwide about 11 percent above last year.

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