Mortgage rates hit another record low

Refinancing applications increased 2.8 percent for the week that ended Aug. 27, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported, the highest level since May 2009.

One positive sign that the market is stabilizing came Thursday, when a report showed that the pending home sales index, a future indicator, rose 5.2 percent, the first increase in three months, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

The increase follows a revised 2.8 percent drop in June and a 29.9 drop percent in May, after sales dropped off following the expiration of an up-to $8,000 tax credit that ended April 30. 

Otherwise, the latest housing data has been dismal, as sales of new and previously owned homes fell to the lowest level on record in July, according to recent reports from the Commerce Department and National Association of Realtors.

The number of contracts to purchase previously owned houses unexpectedly rose in July, a sign the market may be starting to stabilize. The index of pending home resales rose 5.2 percent after a revised 2.8 percent drop the prior month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed Friday in Washington.