The California Association of Realtors said Thursday that its Pending Home Sales Index for August rose 7% from July to a reading of 125.3, up from July¹s 117.1 and 12.6% ahead of August 2010. The year-over-year increase was the largest since July, 2009.

The PHSI, based on contracts signed in August, is a forward-looking indicator reflecting likely closed sales during the next 30-90 days.

C.A.R. also reported a rise in the share of sales represented by distressed properties. Among all property types, distressed sales made up 43.7% of the total, up from 42.9% in July but down from 44.5% in August of last year.Of the distressed properties, 18.9% were short sales, up from 17.5% in July but down from 19.3% in August, 2010. REO sales comprised 24.4% of sales in August, down from 25.2% in July and 24.7% in August 2010.

Counties with the largest share of distressed sales were concentrated in the Inland Empire, near Salinas and around Sacramento. San Bernardino County sales were 64% distressed; the share in Riverside was 62%. Both however, were down from 68% in August of last year. Solano County, near Salinas, topped the list with distressed properties making up 71% of sales, up from 67% a year earlier. San Benito, near Sacramento, had a 67% distressed share, up from 60% in August last year. Sacramento was relatively flat with last August at 62%

The distressed share in L.A. County was 44%, down from 46% in August 2010 but up from 42% in July. Orange County's distressed share climbed to 33% from 31% a year prior. San Diego was flat at 27%. Marin County fell from 29% last August to 27% this year.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.