All reports point to a stronger season for the California housing market as the California Association of Realtors and DataQuick released new metrics on the state’s healthy recovery.

Between pending home sales increasing, short sales decreasing and foreclosure starts flattening, the state’s housing market is starting to look up.

However, it is important to note that the state is still home to the eight most expensive cities to buy a home. 

With San Francisco ranking as the most expensive city in the country, the city has a median listing price of $867,280.

Meanwhile, according to Trulia’s latest list of the fastest and slowest moving markets, the fastest-moving markets in the country are in Oakland, Calif., San Jose, Calif. and San Francisco, where less than one third of homes on the market two months ago were still for sale in mid-April 2014. 

So with these variables in mind, how is the state doing? Click below to find out.

California pending home sales jumped to the highest level in eight months, hitting 17.8% in March, as the Pending Home Sales Index rose from 97.1 in February to 114.4 in March.

The March index was the highest since July 2013.

However, pending sales were down 9.9% from the revised 126.9 index recorded in March 2013. 

“The year-over-year decline in the PHSI has been tapering over the past few months,” the CAR report said.

Additionally, the share of equity sales – or non-distressed property sales – has been increasing steadily over the past year. 

The share of equity sales grew to 87.6% in March, up from 85% in February. 

“Equity sales stabilized over the past several months but have started rising again as the spring home-buying season takes off.  March marks the ninth straight month that equity sales have been more than 80% of total sales. Equity sales made up 71.8% of sales in March 2013,” the report said. 

California

For California foreclosure starts, click below.

Foreclosure starts remained flat for the third consecutive quarter and stayed at a level last seen in early 2006.

According the most recent DataQuick report, lenders and their servicers recorded 19,215 Notices of Default on California house and condo owners during this year’s first quarter, which runs January through March.

This is up 6% from 18,120 NoDs in the prior quarter, which had the lowest NoD number since fourth-quarter 2005.

But this is not necessarily bad news.

“It may well be that the foreclosure starts in recent quarters don’t reflect the ebb and flow of financial distress as much as they reflect a steady state of workload capacity on the part of the servicers. They may well be just working their way through a backlog, stacks of paper piled high on desks,” said John Karevoll, DataQuick analyst.

Most of the pools of toxic subprime mortgages on servicers’ desk were originated back in mid-to-late 2006, a real estate information service reported.

“Absent an economic shock, the number of homeowners defaulting on their mortgage should continue to trend lower thanks to the economic rebound and higher home prices,” the report stated.

“For a variety of reasons, however, NoD filings could edge higher month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter. For example, some larger lenders and servicers could quicken the pace at which they’re processing existing backlogs of distressed properties. And there could be a spike in “re-defaults” among borrowers who avoided foreclosure with a loan modification,” it added. 

California houses

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