LOS ANGELES (Feb. 23) – Home sales decreased 10.6 percent in January in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home rose 15 percent, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today.
“Many sales that closed escrow in January were on homes with offers accepted during the holiday season–a time when many house hunters are first-time buyers,” said C.A.R. President Steve Goddard. “First-time buyers typically purchase homes priced below an area’s median home price. Reflecting this, the percentage of homes priced under $500,000 increased to 77 percent of all sales in January, compared with 75 percent in December.
“Despite the year-to-year decline, sales remained above the 500,000 unit threshold for the 17th consecutive month, holding steady at pre-peak levels from early in the last decade,” said Goddard.
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 539,040 in January at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity decreased 10.6 percent from the revised 602,660 sales pace recorded in January 2009. Sales in January 2010 decreased 3 percent compared with the previous month.
The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2010 would be if sales maintained the January pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during January 2010 was $287,440, a 15 percent increase from the revised $249,960 median for January 2009, C.A.R. reported. The January 2010 median price decreased 6.3 percent compared with December’s $306,820 median price.
“The story for the median price in January was mixed. In year-over-year terms, California’s median home price saw the greatest percentage increase since December 2005,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R. vice president and chief economist. “However, the median fell by 6.3 percent from the December 2009 median price. Although the monthly decline was large, it was less than the declines for the same time period in both 2008 and 2009 when the median price fell by more than 11 percent.
“The median price still is 17.2 percent ahead of the trough in this cycle,” added Appleton-Young. “However, the expiration of the federal tax credit for home buyers and the impact of the Federal Reserve’s withdrawal from the mortgage market continue to be the wild cards as we move through the year.”
Highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing figures for January 2010:
. C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in January 2010 was 5.8 months, compared with 7.3 months (revised) for the same period a year ago. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
. Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 5.03 percent during January 2010, compared with 5.05 percent in January 2009, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.33 percent in January 2010, compared with 4.92 percent in January 2009.
. The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 33.8 days in January 2010, compared with 50 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.
Regional MLS sales and price information are contained in the tables that accompany this press release. Regional sales data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors that can influence home sales. The MLS median price and sales data for detached homes are generated from a survey of more than 90 associations of REALTORS® throughout the state. MLS median price and sales data for condominiums are based on a survey of more than 60 associations. The median price for both detached homes and condominiums represents closed escrow sales.
In a separate report covering more localized statistics generated by C.A.R. and DataQuick Information Systems, 160 of the 366 cities and communities reporting showed an increase in their respective median home prices from a year ago. DataQuick statistics are based on county records data rather than MLS information. DataQuick Information Systems is a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates. (The lists are generated for incorporated cities with a minimum of 30 recorded sales in the month.)
Note: Large changes in local median home prices typically indicate both local home price appreciation, and often, large shifts in the composition of housing market activity. Some of the variations in median home prices for January may be exaggerated due to compositional changes in housing demand. The DataQuick tables listing median home prices in California cities and counties are accessible through C.A.R. Online at http://www.car.org/marketdata/historicalprices/2010medianprices/jan2010medianprices/.
. Statewide, the 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during January 2010 were: Newport Beach, $1,158,000; Santa Monica, $838,000; Santa Barbara, $810,000; Danville, $800,000; Arcadia, $799,000; Mountain View, $755,000; Yorba Linda, $703,750; Redwood City, $680,000; San Ramon, $660,000l; and Redondo Beach, $649,500.
. Statewide, the cities with the greatest median home price increases in January 2010 compared with the same period a year ago were: Redwood City, 43.2 percent; Rancho Santa Margarita, 38.1 percent; Laguna Niguel, 35 percent; Pittsburg, 29.7 percent; Fullerton, 25.9 percent; Yorba Linda, 24.2 percent; Oxnard, 23.6 percent; Galt, 19.9 percent; Auburn, 19.9 percent; Chino Hills, 19.1 percent; and Petaluma, 17.9 percent.
Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with nearly175,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.