The Pending Home Sales Index, measuring contracts that will likely close in September, fell 1.3 percent to 89.7, the trade group said.
Across the country, the index dropped 2 percent in the Northeast and 0.8 percent in the Midwest. In the South, the index declined 4.8 percent. In the West, the index rose 3.6 percent.
Each regional index, however, is substantially higher than a year earlier. From July 2010, the index has risen 9.7 percent. In the Midwest, from 12 months earlier, the index is up 18.8 percent.
In the South, the index is up 9.5 percent higher than July 2010. In the West, the index is 20.6 percent higher than a year earlier.
"Looking at pending home sales over a longer span, contract activity over the past three months is fairly comparable to the first three months of the year, and well above the low seen in April," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
"The underlying factors for improving sales are developing, such as rising rents, record high affordability conditions and investors buying real estate as a future inflation hedge. It is now a question of lending standards and consumers having the necessary confidence to enter the market," he said.