Pending home sales increased across the country last month, and activity in the South had a lot to do with it.According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, the nationwide Pending Home Sales Index surged 12.4 percent in July from a year earlier to a mark of 101.7. An index above 100 indicates conditions are similar to those experienced prior to the housing market collapse.”While the month-to-month movement has been uneven, more importantly we now have 15 consecutive months of year-over-year gains in contract activity,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.Out of all four regions, the South posted some of the biggest month-over-month and annual gains. Pending home sales in the region increased 5.2 percent in July from the previous month and 15.6 percent from a year earlier to an index of 111.7 – the highest in the nation.Houston real estate may have played a major role in the region's success. Specifically, the metro area has maintained a foreclosure rate well below the national average during recent months. According to RealtyTrac, last month just one in every 1,007 Houston properties were in some stage of the foreclosure process, compared to one in every 686 across the country. Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.