CALIFORNIA HOUSING MARKET LOSES MOMENTUM

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CALIFORNIA HOUSING MARKET LOSES MOMENTUM AS AFFORDABILITY CRUNCH STIFLES HOME SALES
Source: C.A.R.

California home sales downshifted in August as low housing affordability and a tight supply of homes for sale cut into demand, especially in high cost areas of the San Francisco Bay region, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said.
Making sense of the story

  • Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 420,360 units in August, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2016 if sales maintained the August pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
  • The August figure was up 1.1 percent from the revised 415,840 level in July and down 2.2 percent compared with home sales in August 2015 of a revised 429,900. Home sales remained above the 400,000 pace for the fifth straight month, but sales have declined year over year for the sixth consecutive month.
  • “We are seeing the market tempering, which is being driven by reduced affordability and not enough homes for sale on the market, particularly in the San Francisco Bay regions, where runaway home prices have constrained home sales,” said C.A.R. President Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli. “Two of the region’s least affordable counties – Marin and Santa Clara – saw sales fall from a year ago, while Contra Costa and Sonoma counties experienced more modest slowdowns. Conversely, in many parts of the Central Valley, where homes are more affordable and demand has been relatively strong, home sales posted healthy increases. Likewise, sales of condominiums statewide were strong, thanks to their relative affordability.”
  • The statewide median price remained above the $500,000 mark for the fifth straight month and is at its highest level in nearly seven years. There are, however, signs of an expected slowing in price growth. The median price of an existing, single-family detached California home was up 1.7 percent in August to $526,580 from $517,650 in July. August’s median price increased 5.8 percent from the revised $497,520 recorded in August 2015. The median sales price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling as well as a general change in values. The continuing rising home prices despite falling sales suggests that demand continues to outstrip new supply coming online, which is pushing prices higher.

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