California pending home sales posted the strongest monthly gain in nearly four years in January, according to a report released today by the California Association of Realtors.
CAR's monthly Pending Home Sales Index, based on signed contracts, rose to 101.4 in January, up from 82.4 in December and 100 in January 2012.
Pending home sales are considered indicators of future home sales activity.
"The strong increase in January's pending home sales is an encouraging indication that we'll kick off the spring home buying season on a solid start," said CAR President Don Faught, who warned that low inventory will present a challenge for first-time home buyers looking for relatively affordable housing.
Statewide, the share of equity sales - non-distressed property sales - was 64.4 percent in January, compared with 63.6 percent in December. Equity sales accounted for 45.3 percent of all sales in January 2012.
The combined statewide share of all distressed property sales was 35.6 percent in January, down sharply from 54.7 percent in January 2012.
In Sacramento County, CAR said single-family distressed home sales comprised 44 percent of January sales, down from 51 percent in December and 66 percent in January 2012.
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