Last month’s sales were the lowest for a March since 2008, when 24,565 homes sold – a record low for the month of March. California’s high for March sales was 68,848 in 2005. Last month’s sales were 23.9 percent below the average of 43,251 sales for all months of March since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. California sales haven’t been above average for any particular month in more than eight years.
The median price paid for a home in California last month was $376,000, up 5.9 percent from $355,000 in February and up 20.1 percent from $313,000 in March 2013. Last month’s median sale price was the highest since it was $383,000 in January 2008. This March was the 25th consecutive month in which the state’s median rose on a year-over-year basis, and it was the 16th straight month with a gain exceeding 20 percent.
In March/April/May 2007 California’s median sale price peaked at $484,000. The post-peak trough was $221,000 in April 2009.
Of the existing homes sold last month, 7.4 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was down from a revised 8.0 percent in February and down from 15.0 percent a year earlier. California’s foreclosure resales peaked at 58.8 percent in February 2009.
Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 7.4 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was down from an estimated 9.3 percent the month before and 18.7 percent a year earlier.
The typical monthly mortgage payment that California buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,496, up from $1,405 the month before and up from $1,134 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month’s payment was 35.9 percent below the typical payment in spring 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 48.1 percent below the current cycle’s peak in June 2006. It was 60.7 percent above the January 2012 bottom of the current cycle.
DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts. DataQuick was acquired last month by Irvine-based property information company CoreLogic.
Indicators of market distress continue to decline. Foreclosure activity remains well below year-ago and peak levels reached in the last five years. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, while down payment sizes are stable, DataQuick reported.
Media calls: Andrew LePage (916)456-7157 or alepage (at) dqnews (dot) com