The U.S. housing market is seeing signs of improvement, and California is leading the way. In September, housing defaults in the Golden State fell 45 percent from a year earlier. For the country, defaults hit their lowest level in almost five years with just one in every 248 homes getting a filing, according to Realty Trac. U.S. home values rose 1.2 percent in July from the previous year—the second straight 12-month advance since August 2010, according to the S&P/Case Shiller index.

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