Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes fell in November to their lowest level in nearly a year, a sign rising interest rates could be weighing on the housing market, the National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday.

The group said its pending home sales index, based on contracts signed in November, dropped 2.5 percent to 107.3.

"The brisk upswing in mortgage rates and not enough inventory dispirited some would-be buyers," the NAR said in a statement accompanying the figures.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.5 percent increase last month.

The November index was at its lowest level since January and 0.4 percent lower than in November 2015, the NAR said.

Across the nation's four regions, contracts rose 0.6 percent in the Northeast in November, but fell 2.5 percent in the Midwest and 6.7 percent in the West. They fell 1.2 percent in the South.

Reuters (Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci)