The National Association of Realtors® released its Pending Home Sales Index for October this a.m.  Like the results for Flagstaff's home sales market in October, pending home sales were down nationally. This is the fifth straight monthly decline and it brings homes under contract to sell below the level in October 2012.

NAR's chief economist attributes the decline in part to the government shutdown, which slowed IRS verifications of income for home buyers' loan approvals. Higher interest rates and a generally sluggish economy also are to blame. In any event, housing is not contributing to economic improvement at this point.

Read more in the MarketWatch.com coverage.