LOS ANGELES — The share of equity sales rose to their highest level in five years, while March California pending home sales climbed from the previous month, the California Association of Realtors reported.
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Pending home sales data
C.A.R.’s Pending Home Sales Index rose 14.8 percent from a revised 110.1 in February to 126.3 in March, based on signed contracts. Pending sales were down 7.5 percent from the 136.5 index recorded in March 2012. Pending home sales are forward-looking indicators of future home sales activity, providing information on the future direction of the market.
“Recent gains in home prices are increasing the market value of many underwater homes,” said CAR President Don Faught. “As a result, many homes that were previously listed as short sales are now selling as equity sales, as is indicated by the five-percent drop in the share of short sales compared with last year.”
Distressed housing market data
• The share of equity sales — or non-distressed property sales — compared with total sales rose to their highest level since February 2008, recording a 72.1 percent share in March. Equity sales made up 66.8 percent of all sales in February and about half (51.2 percent) of all sales in March 2012.
• The combined share of all distressed property sales continued to decline in March, dropping from 33.2 percent in February to 27.9 percent in March 2013. Distressed properties comprised 48.8 percent of all sales in March 2012.
• Of the distressed properties, the share of short sales was 17.3 percent in March, down from 19.8 percent in February and down from 22.6 percent a year ago. The March figure was the lowest since November 2009.
• The share of REO sales also declined to their lowest level since late 2007, falling from 12.9 percent in February to 10.2 percent in March and down from 25.9 percent in March 2012.
• Housing inventory fell in all three property types in March, with the Unsold Inventory Index for short sales falling from a revised 3.2 months in February to 2.7 months in March and REOs slipping from 2 months in February to 1.8 months in March. The index for equity sales declined from 3.8 months in February to 3 months in March.