Pending home sales in California soared in July compared to the previous year, posting the strongest year-over-year increase in more than six years, the California Association of Realtors reported Monday.

But there were also signs suggesting a possible forthcoming decline in real estate activity. California Realtors responding to CA.’s July Market Pulse Survey saw a reduction in floor calls, listing appointments, and open house traffic, compared with June.

There is also this. 40 percent of government-backed mortgage loans go through programs that are not as firm about qualifying as Fannie and Freddie. The median credit score for borrowers going through the Federal Housing Administration, for example was in the lower third of all credit scores in the U.S. Stress tests indicate that in a crash similar to what happened six years ago, 25 percent of those FHA mortgages would go into default.

Real Estate ABC.com writes, “…a new report from the Federal Reserve indicates that banks may be easing their requirements for home-buyers. If that occurrence should become a trend, the stalled U.S. housing market recovery could make headway again by the end of the year.”

Almost a quarter of lenders reported that they had eased credit standards for prime mortgages during the previous three months, the largest percentage in over seven years, since the start of the mortgage meltdown. Only a small sliver – six percent – of lenders tightened their standards in the latest quarter.

The decision to loosen lending requirements seems to have been fueled by increased competition from other lenders as demand rose. Half of the banks surveyed in July said they saw stronger demand for prime mortgage in the past three months, the first increase in over a year.

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