WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes turned in a barely perceptible gain in October amid a limited inventory of homes for sale despite still-strong demand, the National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday.

The group said its pending home sales index, based on contracts signed last month, increased just 0.1 percent to 110.0. The September index was revised slightly downward to 109.9 from an originally reported 110.0.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.2 percent increase in October.

But the October index was 1.8 percent higher than in October 2015, the NAR said.

Across the nation's four regions, contracts rose 0.4 percent in the Northeast in October, while they rose 1.6 percent in the Midwest and 0.7 percent in the West. They fell 1.3 percent in the South.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Andrea Ricci)