The index tracking pending home sales in California jumped 22.9 percent in January to 84.8 from 68.9 in December.  This was the first increase in the Pending Home Sale Index (PHSI) which is based on signed sales contracts, in three months.

While the monthly increase could be viewed as an encouraging sign for spring, pending sales were 17.5 percent below the PHSI of 102.8 one year earlier.  This was the fifth straight annual double-digit drop in the PHSI. 



 "We're starting to see a turning point in the market as we approach the spring homebuying season.  Home sellers realize that home prices are holding steady and are gearing up for the upcoming season by listing their homes for sale, while prospective home buyers are getting more comfortable with stabilizing home prices and interest rates and are entering the market," said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown.

There was an increase in inventory across all property types.  The Unsold Inventory Index for equity properties increased from 3 months in December to 4.4 months in January and the supply of bank-owned real estate (REO) listings climbed to 3.2 months from 2.8 months.  There was a 4.6 month supply of short sales 3.2 months in December

Equity or non-distressed home sales constituted more than 80 percent of sales for the 7th straight month although their share dipped from 84.5 percent in December to 84.4 percent.  This is a strong comeback from January 2013 when equity sales had a 64.2 market share.

Short sales had a 9.2 percent market share, less than half the 21.2 percent share of a year earlier and down slightly from 10 percent in December.  Sales of bank-owned real estate (REO) inched up to 5.9 percent from 5.0 percent in December.  Those sales had a 14.2 percent share in January 2013.