US pending home sales slump 4.7 percent in January

In this Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, photo a real estate sale pending sign hangs in front of an existing home, in Walpole, Mass. On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the National Association of Realtors releases its January report on pending home sales. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

WASHINGTON — The pace of Americans signing contracts to buy homes fell 4.7 percent in January to its lowest level in more than three years, due to a lack of homes for sale, higher prices and rising mortgage rates.