California Association of Realtors
LOS ANGELES — Following a strong performance in July, California’s housing market pulled back in August as mortgage rates continued to inch up, although sales of condominiums and townhomes remained robust, the California Association of Realtors reported.
“The condo and townhome market has been performing exceptionally well, as rising single-family home prices and limited inventory prompted many buyers to look for a more affordable alternative,” said CAR President Don Faught. “In fact, sales of condominiums and townhomes surged almost 8 percent from last August and are up nearly 5 percent year to date compared to last year.”
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 434,700 units in August, according to information collected by CAR from more than 90 local Realtor associations and MLSs statewide. Sales in August were down 2 percent from a revised 443,500 in July and down 1.9 percent from a revised 443,030 in August 2012. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2013 if sales maintained the August pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
Home prices continued in an upward trend in August, reaching levels not seen in more than five years. The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home was up 1.7 percent from July’s median price of $433,910 to reach $441,330 in August, the highest price recorded since December 2007. August’s price was 28.4 percent higher than the revised $343,800 recorded in August 2012, marking a year and a half of annual price increases and the 14th straight 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.
“Housing inventory levels are improving, especially in homes priced below $750,000. Indeed, the number of active listings across all price ranges has been rising on a month-to-month basis for the last six months and has reached the highest level since mid-2012,” said CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “As housing supply loosens up with the seasonal slowdown, annual home price increases are expected to taper as we’ve observed in the last two months.”
Other key facts of CAR’s August 2013 resale housing report include:
• The available supply of existing, single-family detached homes for sale inched up in August to 3.1 months, up from July’s Unsold Inventory Index of 2.9 months. The index was 3.2 months in August 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 typical in a normal market.
• The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home also edged up to 28.8 days in August from 27.8 days in July, but was down from 41.1 days in August 2012.
• Mortgage rates moved higher in August, with the 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaging 4.46 percent, up from 4.37 percent in July 2013 and up from 3.60 percent in August 2012, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates in August averaged 2.65 percent, slightly down from 2.66 in July but down from 2.67 percent in August 2012.