My recent blog posts have been filled with cheer and good news (I recently brought in the buyers for my gorgeous Irvine Cove listing, along with signs of Orange County real estate and economic improvement). While Orange County real estate is still on the mend, a recent study by the National Association of Realtors shows that after reaching a two-year peak, pending home sales fell in August The good news? These listing prices are still at elevated levels compared to a year ago.

A recent Real Estate index, which looks forward based on contract signings, shows that the number of homes entering into escrow declined 2.6% to 99.2 in August from an upwardly revised 101.9 in July. Don’t worry — this number is still 10.7% above August 2011 (89.6). Of course, we are comparing great and greater: Contract activity in July 2012 was at the highest level since April 2010, when buyers were rushing to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit.

Economists say not to worry too much, volatility can be expected in the monthly real estate readings. Overall, the index shows 16 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, and that has translated into a higher number of closed sales. Year-to-date existing-home sales are 9% above the same period last year. As for the West Coast specifically, the index fell 7.2% in August to 102.5 and is 4% below a year ago.

Cheryl Marquis has her finger on the pulse of the local and national real estate market. For information about what your Orange County home might be worth, or if this is the time for you to buy and/or sell a home in Orange County, contact Cheryl Marquis today.

For more Orange County real estate news and happenings, follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylSellsOC or check her on Facebook at CherylSellsOrangeCounty.