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The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.



) -- August cumulative pending home sales, including single-family homes and condominiums, in Miami-Dade County were 18 percent above what they were a year earlier, up from 10,119 to 11,915, and 0.8 percent below the previous month, down from 12,014, according to the 25,000-member MIAMI Association of REALTORS and the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) systems.

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The total number of listings of pending home sales, including single-family homes and condominiums, in August increased 19 percent, from 2,989 in August 2010 to 3,350 last month. Compared to the previous month, pending home sales decreased a negligible 0.3 percent. Pending Single-family home and condominium sales during the month increased 26 percent and 14 percent respectively."The Miami real estate market continues to outperform the nation," said Jack H. Levine, 2011 chairman of the board of the MIAMI Association of REALTORS. "Rising pending sales reflect market strengthening that has resulted from our market's increasing attraction to foreign, vacation, and second home buyers. Canadian, Brazilian, and Venezuelan buyers lead local international sales and contribute to the health and balance of our market."

In August, cumulative pending sales of condominiums performed better than that of single-family homes. Pending sales of condominiums were 21 percent higher than they were a year earlier, up from 5,759, and 0.1 percent below what they were the previous month, down from 6,978. Pending sales of single-family homes were 13 percent above what they were a year earlier, up from 4,360 to 4,941, and two percent below the previous month, when pending single-family homes sales totaled 5,036.

"Miami sales prices are now rising countywide despite distressed sales, which is a very positive sign for our market," said 2011 MIAMI Association of REALTORS Residential President Ralph E. De Martino. "Increased future sales activity will further strengthen prices and consumer confidence."

Nationally, the Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 1.2 percent to 88.6 in August from 89.7 in July, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index is 7.7 percent higher than the 82.3 index reported in August 2010.

Increased pending sales are an indication of increased future sales. A sale is listed as pending when a contract is signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.