August home sales in Southern California rose 8.6% from July, but the outlook going forward is murky with August sales far below historic averages, DataQuick said Wednesday. The month of August was an improvement from July with 19,654 homes and condos selling in the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties. That compares to 18,090 sales in July and 18,541 sales from a year ago. August was the first month since mid-2010 to report a year-over-year gain in Southern California home sales. “Scratch beneath the surface and there’s not a lot to cheer about this month. Home sales were up from a year earlier but remained far below average. Many would-be buyers can’t find financing, and others who want to make a move now are stuck because they owe more than their homes are worth," said John Walsh, president of DataQuick. "Financial markets are increasingly choppy, the political outlook is incredibly murky and consumer confidence remains poor. Needless to say, it’s not an environment ripe for stabilizing the housing market." The San Diego Housing Market Monitor report, which is produced by The Berkland Group, also found pending home sales in San Diego rose 7% in August, while actual sales increased 4%. When comparing last month to a year earlier, San Diego sales still fell 3%.  Distressed home sales made up 46% of all sales in the area in August. Write to Kerri Panchuk.