The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose in November, the fourth increase since contract signings hit a low in June.
The National Association of Realtors says its index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes increased 3.5% last month from a downwardly revised reading in October.
Contract signings were up in the West and Northeast, but down in the South and Midwest.
Signings are 22.1% above June's index reading, which was the lowest level since the private group began tracking the data in 2001.
Still, signings are 5 percent lower than November 2009 when buyers were scrambling to close purchases to qualify for the first federal tax credit.
Still, the year is shaping up to be the worst for home sales since 1997.