The number of people signing contracts to purchase previously owned homes rose for the ninth consecutive month in October as government tax credits continued to provide an incentive, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

The association’s Pending Home Sales Index, which tracks sales listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, was up 3.7 percent in October from September to a reading of 114.1.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said the government’s tax credit for first time home buyers “is helping unleash pent-up demand” from renters.