The region's index had risen 5.5 percent in May from April, and pending sales were 33.1 percent above May 2010, HomExpert reported.
The association's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said tight credit and economic uncertainty continued to depress sales despite low fixed-interest rates.
Freddie Mac reported 30-year fixed rates at 4.55 percent Thursday, unchanged from the previous week.
Yun said contract cancellations, which caused completed sales in June to fall 0.8 percent from May, could be "nothing more than delayed buying decisions rather than outright cancellations," and might not affect the closings on June's sales contracts.
But Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's chief economist, counseled caution about the upward trend in contracts.
"Low appraisals compared to contract prices, and heightened uncertainty about the economic recovery, may have led to increased numbers of contract cancellations" that were reflected in the June sales numbers, Duncan said.
Although concerns about the economy continue to keep people in their current homes, they aren't spending much money on improving their surroundings. An index that measures current and future remodeling activity, such as requests for bids, fell in the second quarter, the National Association of Home Builders said Thursday.
"Remodelers have experienced the same hiccup that has rippled through the U.S. economy," said the group's chairman, Bob Peterson. "After picking up the pace early in the year, the calls from customers dropped off, and remodeling slowed."
All market segments are similarly depressed.
Spending on nonresidential construction, including commercial and public building, is projected to decline 5.6 percent in 2011, the American Institute of Architects reported.
"Spending on renovations of existing buildings has remained strong," said the institute's chief economist, Kermit Baker, "but the depressed demand for new construction isn't likely to improve until next year, led by the commercial sector - offices, retail, and hotels."
Contact real estate writer Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472, email@example.com,
or @alheavens on Twitter.