March 27, 2012 (Jeff Alan)

Contract signings for home purchases in California improved for the second consecutive month in February according to the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) released by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

The index increased 24.9 percent to 127.8 in February, up from January’s revised index of 102.3. The index was 14.3 percent higher than in February of 2011 when the index stood at 111.8.

Pending home sales are an indicator of sales activity 30 to 45 days into the future.

Distressed property sales fell to 48.9 percent of all re-sales in California in February, down from 50.1 percent in January. Distressed sales were also lower than in February 2011 when 55.2 percent of all re-sales that month were distressed properties.

Short sales made up 23.0 percent of total re-sales statewide in February, down from 23.8 percent in January but up from 22.9 percent in February of 2011.

Foreclosed properties and real estate-owned (REO) properties made up 25.2 percent of the total sales statewide in February, down from 25.9 percent in January, and down from 31.9 percent in February of 2010.

LeFrancis Arnold, President of CAR, stated, “A lack of inventory in the bank-owned (REO) and short sale market was a contributing factor to the decline in share of distressed sales in February. In fact, REO inventory declined 24 percent in February from the previous year, while short sale inventory dropped 17 percent during the same period.”

Distressed property sales as a percentage of total sales were highest in Tehama County at 84 percent and lowest in San Diego County at 29 percent in February.

Tags: California, pending home sales, distressed properties, short sales, REO, foreclosed properties

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