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Homes in Merrick, along Long Island's south shore. Homes in Merrick, along Long Island’s south shore. (Source: Bloomberg)

A gauge of contract signings to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly declined for a second month in October as higher prices and a limited number of listings impeded momentum in the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors’ index of pending home sales decreased 1.1% to 128.9 from the prior month after a revised 2% decline in September, according to data released Monday. The October drop compared with a median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists for a 1% gain.

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