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Property sales in California seeing steady growth

LOS ANGELES - Pending home sales in California were higher in February than January but lower than in February of 2012, while the number of  distressed properties on the market is falling, the California Association of  Realtors reported Monday.

The association's Pending Home Sales Index rose 8.7 percent from a  revised 101.4 in January to 110.2 in February, based on signed contracts, CAR  reported in a statement issued from its Los Angeles headquarters. But it said  that pending sales were down 8.2 percent from the 120 index recorded in February 2012.

Pending home sales are indicators of future home sales activity,  providing information on the future direction of the market, according to CAR.

The share of equity sales, meanwhile, is rising, accounting for more  than two-thirds of all home sales for the first time since April 2008,  according to CAR. Equity sales involve non-distressed property, in which the  seller has money invested.

The share of equity sales in February increased to 67.1 percent, up from  64.4 percent in January, according to CAR, which said the February level of  equity sales was the highest since April 2008, when the share was 67.3 percent.  Equity sales made up less than half -- 46.7 percent of all sales -- in February  2012.

The combined share of all distressed property sales dropped to 32.9  percent in February, down from 35.6 percent in January and down from 53.3  percent in February 2012, the CAR statement said.

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