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California Pending Sales Higher in October

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California pending home sales reversed a two-month decline to post higher in October, but were down from a year earlier, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported recently.

According to the data, California pending home sales rose in October, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* climbing 2.5 percent in October to 109.3, up from 106.7 in September, based on signed contracts. The monthly increase was considerably greater than the average September-to-October change of 0.7 percent over the past five years. Pending sales were down 9.9 percent from the 121.2 index recorded in October 2012. Pending home sales are forward-looking indicators of future home sales activity, providing information on the future direction of the market.

Distressed housing market data:

• The share of equity sales – or non-distressed property sales – dipped slightly in October, but still made up more than eight in 10 sales, marking the fourth straight month that equity sales have been more than 80 percent of total sales. The share of equity sales in October dipped to 85.5 percent, down from 85.7 percent in September. Equity sales made up 63.2 percent of sales in October 2012.

• The combined share of all distressed property sales edged up slightly in October, inching up to 14.5 percent, up from 14.3 percent in September but down sharply from 36.8 percent in October 2012. However, 16 of the 38 reported counties showed a month-to-month decrease in the share of distressed sales, with San Mateo County having the lowest share at 3 percent.

• Of the distressed properties, the share of short sales was essentially unchanged at 9.4 percent in October, compared to a revised 9.3 percent in September. October’s figure was down significantly from 24.4 percent in October 2012 and remained at the lowest levels since January 2009.

• The share of REO sales edged up in October, but was in the single-digits for the seventh straight month. REOs made up only 4.7 percent of all sales in October, up slightly from 4.4 percent in September but down from 12 percent in October 2012.

• Housing inventory levels tightened slightly for the first time in five months but were still extremely low. The Unsold Inventory Index for equity sales dipped from 3.5 months in September to 3.4 months in October. The supply of REOs was unchanged from September at 2.7 months, but the supply of short sales slipped from 3.8 months in September to 3.6 months in October.

For more information, visit www.car.org.

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