California Association of Realtors
LOS ANGELES — As the statewide median price continued to register double-digit gains from year-ago levels, strong sales of higher-priced homes led to a year-over-year increase in sales in California during November, the California Association of Realtors reported.
“Housing markets with higher-priced homes performed better in November compared with lower-priced areas. The negative impact of a lean housing supply on home sales is becoming more apparent, especially in markets with more distressed properties,” said CAR President Don Faught. “In lower-priced markets, home sales declined, whereas sales of mid- to higher-priced homes posted strong increases because there is a greater supply.”
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 518,290 units, according to information collected by CAR from more than 90 local Realtor associations and MLSs statewide. Sales in November were down 4.9 percent from a revised 545,180 in October and up 2.7 percent from a revised 504,470 in November 2011. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2012 if sales maintained the November 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 increased 2.3 percent from October’s $341,370 median price to $349,300 in November. November’s price was up 24.8 percent from a revised $279,910 recorded in November 2011, marking the ninth consecutive month of annual price increases and the fifth consecutive month of double-digit annual gains. The year-to-year percentage increase was the largest since June 2004.
“California’s median home price continued to strengthen in November, marking its highest point since August 2008,” said CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The significant increase in price was due in part to the change in the mix of sales. Coastal markets, which tend to have high-end properties, accounted for a larger share of total sales and led to strong price gains overall.
“As we approach the new year, it is likely that sales and price will remain solid moving forward, dependent upon the strength of the economy and if Congress preserves the valuable mortgage interest deduction all homeowners, especially those in California, depend on.”
Other key facts of CAR’s November 2012 resale housing report include:
• California’s housing inventory continued to be constrained in November, with the Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes maintaining its 3.1-months’ level. This is flat compared with the previous month, but down from November 2011, when the index was at 5.3 months. 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.
• Interest rates dipped further in November, with the 30-year fixed-mortgage interest rate averaging 3.35 percent during November 2012, down from 3.38 percent in October, and down from 3.99 percent in November 2011, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates also edged down in November, averaging 2.57 percent, down from 2.59 percent in October and down from 2.9 percent in November 2011.
• Homes continued to sell at a faster pace in November, with the median number of days it took to sell a single-family home falling to 37.5 days in November 2012 from 38 days in October and down from a revised 56.6 days for the same period a year ago.
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. 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 October may exhibit unusual fluctuation.