NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Home sales fell significantly from August to September, and real estate industry experts are pointing to higher interest rates and skittish consumer sentiment for the decline. The National Association of Realtors is out with data this week showing its benchmark Pending Home Sales Index fell from 107.6 in August to 101.6 in September. The NAR says that "higher mortgage rate and higher mortgage prices curbed buying power" in September, and the lead-up to the federal government debt standoff Oct. 1 didn't help matters, either. BankingMyWay Weekly Mortgage Rate Tracker, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell from 4.37% to 4.26%. Those numbers are roughly supported by Freddie Mac, which has 30-year rates falling from 4.57% in early September to 4.13% in late October. Historically, lower mortgage rates lead to stronger home sales, not weaker home sales. But in a residential home sales market with myriad moving parts, lower interest rates alone -- if they remain low, which is no guarantee -- may not be enough to propel the housing market forward. A stronger jobs picture, more robust consumer sentiment and some stabilization among warring political factions in Washington, D.C., would all also have to round into form to keep home sales churning. That may still happen, but after some solid numbers coming out of the real estate market (see here and here), the NAR report is a sobering one for the real estate market.