California median home price remains strong; buyers confront listings shortage
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California median home price remains strong; buyers confront listings shortage

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LOS ANGELES, CA – March 18, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — California’s median home price marked a full year of annual price gains, propelled by strong sales of higher-priced homes in February, while a lack of inventory constrained total home sales for the month, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported.  Also, consistent with a rebenchmarking conducted by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) in December 2011, C.A.R. released today benchmark revisions to historic single-family existing-home sales.  Rebenchmarking is an adjustment performed periodically on a series of data to ensure its continued accuracy.

“The demand for homes remains solid, but a shortage of homes for sale, especially in the lower-priced segments, is negatively impacting housing sales,” said C.A.R. President Don Faught.  “Sales of homes priced above $500,000 continue to be strong, posting nearly 31 percent higher than a year ago, while homes priced below $300,000 were down 27 percent from last February due to fewer available homes for sale.”

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 416,610 units in February, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide.  Sales in February were down 0.9 percent from a revised 420,270 in January and down 5.9 percent from a revised 442,660 in February 2012.  The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2013 if sales maintained the February pace throughout the year.  It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home slipped 1 percent from January’s revised median price of $337,360 to $333,880 in February.  February’s price was up 24.2 percent from a revised $268,810 recorded in February 2012, marking a full year of annual price increases and the eighth consecutive month of double-digit annual gains.  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.

“With housing inventory dropping nearly 39 percent from a year ago, supply constraints continued to propel strong gains in the median price, but also intensified market competition,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.  “With an imbalance between supply and demand, home buyers have been fiercely competing with each other.  More than half of home sales are receiving multiple offers, with homes getting an average of four to five offers, and some even more.”

Other key facts of C.A.R.’s February 2013 resale housing report include:

• The available supply of homes for sale was essentially unchanged from January, but was down markedly from a year ago.  The February Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes was 3.6 months in February, up from 3.5 months in January, but down from 5.4 months in February 2012.  The index indicates the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.  A six- to seven-month supply is considered normal.

• Increased market competition has significantly driven down the time on market compared to a year ago.  Homes sold more quickly in February, with the median number of days it took to sell a single-family home decreasing to 34.2 days in February, down from 36.6 days in January and down from a revised 57.4 days for the same period a year ago.

• Mortgage rates edged up in February, with the 30-year fixed-mortgage interest rate averaging 3.53 percent, up from 3.41 percent in January 2013 but down from 3.89 percent in February 2012, according to Freddie Mac.  Adjustable-mortgage interest rates also edged up, averaging 2.61 percent in February, up from 2.58 percent in January but down from 2.78 percent February 2012.

Multimedia:

• Unsold Inventory by price range.
• Change in sales by price range.
• Share of sales by price range.
• Rebenchmarked historical home sales 2000-2012.

C.A.R. also released today benchmark revisions to historic existing single-family home sales. With the new benchmark, the total number of existing single-family homes sold in 2012 was 440,690, a 16.1 percent downward revision from the 525,120 sales previously reported.

Rebenchmarking is an adjustment performed periodically on a series of data to ensure its continued accuracy.  It is necessary to revisit the benchmark regularly, as the underlying assumptions of the data series may change over a period of time.  Because a rebenchmarking of the California home sales series was last performed in 1999, it was necessary to go through the process again to ensure that the underlying assumptions are still accurate and truly reflect what the latest market conditions suggest.  In the current rebenchmarking process, C.A.R. used the methodology developed by NAR, employing the latest U.S. Census surveys to calculate the total number of annual home sales and created a new benchmark, or baseline, to track changes in existing home sales.

Although the rebenchmarking resulted in downward adjustments to home sales data, the revised data maintained the characterization of past market cycles.  For example, the strong surge in home sales that occurred in December 2010, the final month of the home buyer tax credit and the subsequent sales slump in the immediate months afterward is still present after the rebenchmarking.  The information about falling, rising, or stabilizing trends still holds true and provides key information about market direction.  There are no revisions to sales and price data at the MLS level, as these figures are calculated based on all reported sales and prices.

Supply indicators such as the Unsold Inventory Index and Median Time on Market, distressed sales statistics, and the housing affordability index have not been revised because these indices are calculated based on actual, reported sales and price statistics and are not based on benchmarked estimates.  Median home prices remain unchanged, and the data has no impact on consumers who want to buy or sell a home in today’s market.

Factors for rebenchmarking:

• Expanded data sample size and increased coverage over more sampled geographic areas
• More REALTOR®-assisted home sales and fewer for-sale-by-owner home sales
• More homebuilders seeking REALTOR® assistance in listing properties on MLSs
• More data being retrieved electronically, which allows C.A.R. to collect data more accurately and with more consistency

Learn more about NAR’s rebenchmarking methodology.

Note:  The County MLS median price and sales data in the tables are generated from a survey of more than 90 associations of REALTORS® throughout the state, and represent statistics of existing single-family detached homes only.  County sales data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors that can influence home sales.  Movements in sales prices should not be interpreted as changes in the cost of a standard home.  The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical than average prices, which are skewed by a relatively small share of transactions at either the lower-end or the upper-end. Median prices can be influenced by changes in cost, as well as changes in the characteristics and the size of homes sold.  Due to the low sales volume in some areas, median price changes in January may exhibit unusual fluctuation. The change in median prices should not be construed as actual price changes in specific homes.

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 155,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
February 2013 County Sales and Price Activity
(Regional and condo sales data not seasonally adjusted)

February-13 Median Sold Price of Existing Single-Family Homes Sales
State/Region/County Feb-13 Jan-13   Feb-12   MTM% Chg YTY% Chg MTM% Chg YTY% Chg
CA SFH (SAAR) $333,880 $337,360 r $268,810 r -1.0% 24.2% -0.9% -5.9%
CA Condo/Townhomes $273,060 $265,780 r $213,950 r 2.7% 27.6% 7.3% -2.6%
Los Angeles Metropolitan Area $325,530 $318,950 $264,430 2.1% 23.1% -6.7% -6.7%
Inland Empire $212,300 $207,530 $172,600 2.3% 23.0% -5.2% -12.3%
S.F. Bay Area $584,430 $548,890 $438,280 6.5% 33.3% 4.2% -10.9%
 
S.F. Bay Area
Alameda $511,790 $520,680 $402,880 -1.7% 27.0% -4.2% -3.9%
Contra-Costa (Central County) $608,700 $592,100 $515,620 2.8% 18.1% 30.2% 15.0%
Marin $859,380 $799,110 $732,140 7.5% 17.4% 35.4% 10.7%
Napa $468,180 $411,110 $348,000 13.9% 34.5% -1.3% -14.4%
San Francisco $750,000 $687,500 $592,950 9.1% 26.5% -23.3% -24.3%
San Mateo $800,000 $695,000 $582,500 15.1% 37.3% 6.0% -5.4%
Santa Clara $710,000 $652,500 $530,000 8.8% 34.0% 7.0% -16.1%
Solano $234,520 $243,520 $179,020 -3.7% 31.0% 1.7% -21.2%
Sonoma $384,900 $367,780 $324,710 4.7% 18.5% 3.3% -17.5%
Southern California
Los Angeles $337,630 $349,720 $272,690 -3.5% 23.8% -7.7% -5.2%
Orange County $607,230 $566,500 $485,380 7.2% 25.1% -8.5% 1.0%
Riverside County $245,830 $244,780 $200,730 0.4% 22.5% -1.5% -12.0%
San Bernardino $156,360 $154,500 $132,500 1.2% 18.0% -11.0% -12.7%
San Diego $407,220 $390,890 $362,470 4.2% 12.3% -2.2% 0.5%
Ventura $461,960 $440,670 $392,350 4.8% 17.7% -3.3% 2.4%
Central Coast
Monterey $315,000 $339,500 $265,000 -7.2% 18.9% -1.5% -7.3%
San Luis Obispo $408,570 $398,980 $354,350 2.4% 15.3% 5.1% -6.1%
Santa Barbara $562,500 $503,570 $340,000 r 11.7% 65.4% -9.2% -10.8%
Santa Cruz $435,230 $482,000 $499,950 -9.7% -12.9% 17.8% 1.6%
Central Valley
Fresno $158,950 $151,450 $139,280 r 5.0% 14.1% 3.8% -3.9%
Kern (Bakersfield) $168,500 $164,490 r $120,650 r 2.4% 39.7% -1.4% -10.7%
Kings County $153,750 $153,330 $144,000 r 0.3% 6.8% -1.6% -19.2%
Madera $130,000 $98,330 $103,330 32.2% 25.8% -45.2% -58.5%
Merced $125,290 $137,000 $119,280 -8.5% 5.0% 19.4% -3.5%
Placer County $312,090 $292,710 $251,450 6.6% 24.1% 7.5% -14.5%
Sacramento $203,540 $201,010 $163,530 r 1.3% 24.5% 3.7% -12.8%
San Benito $330,000 $310,500 $255,500 6.3% 29.2% -6.5% -14.0%
San Joaquin $174,680 $182,430 $161,040 -4.2% 8.5% 7.0% -12.6%
Stanislaus $152,500 $155,450 $129,860 -1.9% 17.4% -8.5% -23.6%
Tulare $131,070 $135,560 $119,330 -3.3% 9.8% -10.7% -33.7%
Other Counties in California
Amador $225,000 $184,000 $176,670 22.3% 27.4% -16.7% -30.0%
Butte County $211,760 $208,930 $177,860 1.4% 19.1% 6.0% -11.1%
El Dorado County $307,900 $283,570 $242,570 8.6% 26.9% 13.2% -8.2%
Humboldt $231,670 $234,720 $232,950 -1.3% -0.5% -16.1% -5.2%
Lake County $125,000 $134,440 $103,640 -7.0% 20.6% -36.2% -45.0%
Tuolumne $160,000 $175,000 $165,000 -8.6% -3.0% -11.5% -31.3%
Mendocino $259,090 $245,000 $190,000 5.8% 36.4% 44.8% 35.5%
Shasta $180,530 $174,000 $141,900 3.8% 27.2% 18.0% 0.5%
Siskiyou County $110,000 $106,670 $123,330 3.1% -10.8% -33.3% -25.9%
Tehama $131,670 $88,330 $85,000 49.1% 54.9% 160.0% 2.6%
Yolo $250,000 $260,940 $197,500 -4.2% 26.6% -15.2% -27.0%

r = revised

February 2013 County Unsold Inventory and Time on Market
(Regional and condo sales data not seasonally adjusted)

February-13 Unsold Inventory Index         Median Time on Market        
State/Region/County Feb-13 Jan-13   Feb-12   Feb-13 Jan-13   Feb-12  
CA SFH (SAAR) 3.6 3.5 5.4 34.2 36.6 57.4 r
CA Condo/Townhomes 3.2 3.3 5.5 33.5 39.4 67.0 r
Los Angeles Metropolitan Area 3.8 3.5 5.9 40.9 43.5 63.2
Inland Empire 4.0 3.8 5.3 38.7 41.6 57.1
S.F. Bay Area 3.1 3.1 4.2 41.5 45.4 62.7
 
S.F. Bay Area
Alameda 2.6 2.2 5.0 57.0 68.2 87.8
Contra-Costa (Central County) 2.6 2.8 5.0 58.0 69.7 87.5
Marin 4.1 4.7 4.0 61.0 76.3 102.1
Napa 5.4 5.1 6.4 73.7 87.8 85.9
San Francisco 4.0 4.4 4.8 24.7 37.0 47.3
San Mateo 2.9 2.5 4.0 20.0 23.3 36.8
Santa Clara 2.4 2.2 3.5 20.9 23.4 28.0
Solano 3.3 3.4 3.7 44.1 51.5 53.1
Sonoma 4.3 4.3 4.5 63.4 27.6 93.0
Sourthern California
Los Angeles 3.3 3.0 5.7 36.5 38.6 59.5
Orange County 3.9 3.5 7.1 49.8 55.1 82.0
Riverside County 3.9 3.9 5.5 40.2 44.6 58.3
San Bernardino 4.1 3.6 5.1 38.7 36.5 55.0
San Diego 4.3 4.1 6.3 34.7 37.7 59.0
Ventura 5.2 4.7 8.2 54.2 56.2 86.5
Central Coast
Monterey 3.8 3.8 5.4 28.3 27.4 44.2
San Luis Obispo 5.0 5.1 5.9 37.5 42.0 69.1
Santa Barbara 5.2 4.6 6.7 54.5 33.4 71.7 r
Santa Cruz 3.6 3.9 5.4 34.5 39.9 56.1
Central Valley
Fresno 3.9 4.3 5.3 r 26.4 26.6 43.7 r
Kern (Bakersfield) 2.5 3.2 r 4.2 25.0 26.0 r 46.0
Kings County 3.3 3.5 3.8 r 55.2 42.2 68.3 r
Madera 5.2 2.6 3.8 25.7 29.1 58.4
Merced 2.5 3.4 4.3 24.7 27.4 52.4
Placer County 2.8 2.8 4.4 24.1 23.9 48.2
Sacramento 2.3 2.4 4.8 r 21.2 21.3 44.9 r
San Benito 2.1 2.3 3.7 23.3 28.8 49.1
San Joaquin 2.6 2.8 4.6 23.0 21.8 40.1
Stanislaus 2.5 2.3 4.5 21.7 20.9 41.4
Tulare 4.5 4.2 4.9 28.0 27.6 29.6
Other Counties in California
Amador 6.2 5.4 5.4 94.6 57.9 76.8
Butte County 4.3 4.4 4.5 54.9 42.4 68.7
El Dorado County 4.1 4.5 5.5 44.4 41.4 64.6
Humboldt 5.7 4.7 6.6 73.1 70.1 62.8
Lake County 9.4 5.4 5.7 95.8 75.5 86.1
Tuolumne 6.7 5.8 5.5 31.0 61.0 52.1
Mendocino 6.8 10.1 9.6 121.0 94.6 78.1
Shasta 2.8 4.5 4.6 42.1 33.1 50.3
Siskiyou County 15.1 9.9 12.6 84.2 64.6 125.5
Tehama 4.9 11.5 6.5 56.4 61.0 56.8
Yolo 3.5 2.9 5.6 23.1 24.7 53.4

r = revised

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Leading the way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with nearly 155,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Contact:

Los Angeles - Executive Office:
525 South Virgil Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90020-1403
Phone: (213) 739-8200
Fax: (213) 480-7724

Media:

Mark Giberson
Phone: (213) 739-8304.

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