SILVER SPRING, Md. — The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes rebounded a record 44.3% in May after a record-breaking decline the previous month, as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic sidelined both buyers and sellers.

The National Association of Realtors said today that its index of pending sales rose to 99.6 in May, the highest month-over-month gain in the index since since its inception in January 2001. The pending home sales index plunged 21.8% from March to April to a level of 69.

The contract signings — a barometer of finalized purchases over the next two months — have fallen 5.1% over the past year.