Sales of previously owned homes, which account for about 90 percent of the housing market, rose to a 4.13 million rate in August, the Realtors’ group said Sept. 23. The pace of sales was the second-lowest in at least a decade of record-keeping.

The government’s homebuyer tax credit of up to $8,000 required contracts be signed on April 30 and closed by Sept. 30. Many of the closings occurred in May and June because the original incentive called for closings to occur by June 30.

Pending home sales are considered a leading indicator because they track contract signings. Existing home sales are tabulated when a contract is closed, which typically occurs a month or two later.