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The West set the pace for July contract signings

Compared to July 2010, pending home sales rose across the country last month.

Compared to July 2010, pending home sales rose across the country last month.

Pending home sales rose on a year-over-year basis in every region nationally in July, with especially notable increases in the Midwest and West, according to the recently released National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index.

The report shows signed contracts rose 9.5 percent from July 2010 in the South, 9.7 percent in the Northeast and 18.8 percent in the Midwest. While the moving trucks rolling through these regions were a welcome sight this summer, these year-over-year increases also reflect how anemic the market was last July, following the expiration of homebuyer tax credits. In all three of these regions, signed contracts in July declined slightly compared to June of this year.

This was not the case in the West, where July saw 3.6 percent more signed contracts than June and 20.6 percent more signed contracts than July 2010.

Western markets were especially hard-hit by foreclosures, and now sales are on the rise as buyers snatch up these affordable properties. A recent Trulia report showed the average Las Vegas homeowner's monthly mortgage payment of $256 is well below the $800 rent for a condo.

The Phoenix market is in a similar situation. Foreclosures in central Phoenix are selling rapidly, though larger properties in outlying areas are changing hands more sluggishly, The Arizona Republic recently reported.