WASHINGTON — Fewer people signed contracts to purchase homes in November, as the real estate market appears to have cooled after sales gains for much of 2015.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 0.9 percent to 106.9 last month. It was the lowest reading in 10 months. Still, the index has risen 2.7 percent from a year ago.

Steady hiring and low mortgage rates lifted home sales for much of this year. But the pace of buying slowed after the end of the summer, with inventories tight and home values rising faster than incomes. Signed contracts last month fell in the Northeast and West market, while rising slightly in the Midwest and South.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A lag of a month or two usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.