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California pending home sales jump in May

Distressed sales still account for 41 percent of transactions

Pending home sales in the nation's most-populous state rose by double-digits in May compared to the same month a year ago, according to a monthly index from the California Association of Realtors. CAR's Pending Home Sales Index remained unchanged from April's revised figure. But the index jumped 11.2 percent from May 2011, to 128.8. The index, which tracks purchase contracts signed but not yet closed, is considered a forward-looking indicator of future home sales activity with the majority of pending sales closing within one to two months, CAR said. An index level of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity in California in 2008. May was the fourth straight month to see a double-digit, year-over-year index increase. "Despite a slowdown in economic growth in recent months, sales in California remain strong as record low mortgage rates and favorable home prices continue to fuel demand in the housing market," said LeFrancis Arnold, CAR's president, in a stat...