US pending home sales have fallen by 5.6 per cent to 101.6 in September, after estimates of just a 0.5 per cent fall and last month's decline of 1.6 per cent.
The index, which is based on contract signings, is at its lowest since December 2012 (101.3).
The National Association of Realtors' Lawrence Yun said: "declining housing affordability conditions are likely responsible for the bulk of reduced contract activity." Highlighting the impact of shutdown, he added: "in addition, government and contract workers were on the sidelines with growing insecurity over lawmakers’ inability to agree on a budget. A broader hit on consumer confidence from general uncertainty also curbs major expenditures such as home purchases."