Pending home sales in California increased in August from July levels even as inventory levels in the sales pipeline declined over year ago levels.

The California Association of Realtors made those assertions this week, noting its pending home sales index rose 2.7% from a revised 115.8 in July to 118.9 in August. But, when comparing the numbers to year ago figures, pending sales fell 2% from an index score of 121.4 in August 2011. 

"While August’s pending sales were higher than July, the pending sales decline from last year is not a surprise, as we started to see a gradual slowdown in the year-to-year change over the past five months, primarily due to a dearth of available homes," said C.A.R. president LeFrancis Arnold.

REO sales across the state contracted in August while short sales edged up slightly, suggesting banks are working harder to encourage more streamlined and faster foreclosure prevention methods. 

REO sales made up only 14.4% of California sales in August, which is down from 17.4% in July and 27.8% in August 2011.