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Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes fell to their lowest level in a year in January amid a persistent shortage of properties for sale, which could slow the housing market ahead of the spring selling season.The National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index declined 2.5 percent to 106.0 last month, the lowest level since January of last year.Pending home sales become sales after a month or two, and January's unexpected drop suggested home resales will likely weaken after rising only 0.4 percent last month.
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