A marker of future home sales dipped in February, sliding 1.9 percent, according to figures released Tuesday morning.

According to the pending home sales index, an indicator produced by the National Association of Realtors, the number of home-purchase contracts fell in February, resulting in an index reading of 84.6. (The index base of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity in 2001, which was the first year to provide data for the index.)

"The slip in pending home sales implies we're not out of the woods yet, though an era of successive deep sales declines appears to be over," said Lawrence Yun, the association's chief economist, in a statement.

Only the Northeast and the West saw an uptick in activity in February, as the regional pending home sales index increased by 3.2 percent for the Northeast and 2.1 percent for the West.

Overall, February's pending home sales index readings remain significantly lower than they were a year ago. Nationally, these figures were 21.4 percent lower than February 2007. Regionally, the pending home sales index fell between 16.1 percent (West) and 30.3 percent (South) year-over-year, depending on the market.

For more information, visit: http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2008/existing_home_sales_to_stablize_before_upturn.html