California Home Sales Decline From Previous Month, Year, C.A.R. Reports

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California home sales declined in October, from both the previous month and previous year, according to data from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.).

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October's home sales figures reflect the seasonal decline in sales that typically occurs this time of year. Additionally, persistent worries about the economy and job security are affecting home sales, despite low mortgage rates and strong affordability

California home sales declined in October, from both the previous month and previous year, according to data from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.).

Statewide home resale activity declined 3.5 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 450,360, down from September’s revised pace of 466,930, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. The October pace was down 19.6 percent from the revised 560,390 sales pace recorded in October 2009. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2010 if sales maintained the September pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

“October’s home sales figures reflect the seasonal decline in sales that typically occurs this time of year. Additionally, persistent worries about the economy and job security are affecting home sales, despite low mortgage rates and strong affordability,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce. “The significant year-over-year sales decline also reflects particularly strong sales in October and November 2009, as buyers rushed to beat the then-anticipated federal tax credit expiration at the end of November 2009,” said Peerce.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California during October was $304,220, down 1.8 percent from September’s $309,720 revised median price. October’s median price was up 2.3 percent from the $297,500 median price recorded for the same period a year ago, marking 12 consecutive months of year-over-year price gains.

“We’re really seeing two different housing markets – one at the lower-end driven by first-time buyers and investors, which is keeping prices stable, and one with nostalgic sellers who set unrealistic asking prices,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Sellers need to consider current market conditions when pricing their home in order to facilitate a shorter time on the market,” she said.

Here are other highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing report for October 2010:

  • C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes increased slightly to 6.5 months in October from 6.1 months in September. The index was 4.2 months in October 2009. 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 4.23 percent during October 2010, compared with 4.95 percent in October 2009, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 3.46 percent in October 2010, compared with 4.55 percent in October 2009.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 53.4 days in October 2010 compared with 34.1 days 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, 131 of the 324 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 October 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/oct2010/

  • Statewide, the 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during October 2010 were: Los Altos, $1,700,000; Newport Beach, $1,100,000; Palo Alto, $1,050,000; Cupertino, $1,022,500; Los Gatos, $1,000,000; Rancho Palos Verdes, $900,000; Santa Barbara, $864,000; Arcadia, $856,000; Santa Monica, $810,000; and Danville, $770,000.
  • Statewide, the cities with the greatest median home price increases in October 2010 compared with the same period a year ago were: Yucca Valley, 40 percent; Arcadia, 40 percent; Compton, 29 percent; San Bernardino, 29 percent; Highland, 28 percent; Poway, 23 percent; Pomona, 21 percent; Ceres, 18 percent; Colton, 18 percent; and Escondido, 18 percent.

Multimedia:

•Visit http://videos.car.org/mediavault.html?menuID=1&flvID=12 to view a video of C.A.R. Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young discuss highlights of the September sales and price report.

•Visit http://car.org/media/ppt/Oct_2010_UII_by_price.ppt to view Unsold Inventory by price point.

•Visit http://car.org/media/ppt/Oct_2010_trough_current.ppt to view a data table comparing current prices with trough prices in areas throughout the state.

Leading the way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (http://www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with more than 160,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

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