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California property report: Median house price falls 2.3%

Cash sales highest since March 2014

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While single-family home and condominium sales slightly change in February from its revised 24,273 in January, cash sales soared to 25.3% of total sales, the highest in 23 months.

Sales volumes were at 43.2% below last year’s peak summer sales. In February 2015, sales were down 2.4% from a revised 25,022, condominium sales increased to 19.4% of total sales compared to last year’s 18.6%.

For the month of February, single-family home sales went down 2.1% from last year, condominium sales gained 1.1% for the month but were flat year-over-year.

According to PropertyRadar, director of economic research Madeline Schnapp, the California’s real estate market went into an early “hibernation starting in October 2015.”

“On a year-over-year basis, sales have been remarkably flat.  That’s good news because the California real estate market continues to shrug off broader national and global financial turmoil. The bad news is that resilience has translated into flat markets for the foreseeable future,” Schnapp was quoted saying.

“Lack of inventory and high prices continues to stifle activity”, said Schnapp. “Our October 2015 headline, ‘Flat is the New Black’, looks more and more likely for the rest of 2016 as economic growth slows and real wages remain stagnant.”

Per the PropertyRadar report:

The February 2016 median price of a California home was $390,000, down 2.3% from a revised January 2016 price of $399,000. On a year-ago basis, median home prices were up 3.7% from $376,000 in February 2015. The median price of a condominium was $379,000, down 2.8% from $390,000 in January 2016 but up 3.7% from $370,000 from a year ago.

“Not surprisingly given current economic conditions, year-over-year price growth halved this past month,” said Schnapp. “Price appreciation has definitely slowed which is good news for a market suffering from sticker shock.”

Cash sales for single-family homes and condominiums increased in January, but were down 1.9% from the year before.

Out of California’s 26 counties, San Francisco, Marin, Santa Cruz, Tulare and Fresno were the highest in cash sales percentages.

“Fortunately for the real estate markets, El Niño has made its presence known in Northern California, providing much needed snow to Tahoe ski resorts and filling reservoirs,” added Schnapp.

“With the Sierra snow pack close to or above normal, easing the statewide drought, water-critical areas such as the Central Valley and tourism based economies, can now breathe a sigh of relief,” concluded Schnapp.

Per a recent report from the California Association of Realtors, California’s pending home sales in January on a year-over-year basis for the first time since August 2014.

Statewide pending home sales tumbled in January on an annual basis, with the pending home sales index decreasing 2.9% from 98.5 in January 2015 to 95.6 in January 2016, based on signed contracts, CAR reported.

Source: PropertyRadar
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