The National Association of Realtors reported today a sharp drop in pending home sales for July, down 12.2 percent to the lowest levels in six years. The NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in July, fell to 89.9, lower than where the index stood in September 2001, which, of course, included the effects of 9/11.

The index offers a look at the direction of actual home sales since pending contracts are typically closed one to two months later. Compared to a year ago, the index is currently 16 percent lower.