California pending home sales decreased for the third straight month, despite a group of buyers anxious to secure one of the few available homes on the market, according to the February California pending home sales and Market Pulse Survey by the California Association of Realtors.
Pending home sales decreased in March by 1.7% from 138 sales in March 2015 to 135.6 sales this March, based on signed contracts, according to the report. Monthly, however, pending homes sales rose 12.7% from February’s 120.3 sales. After adjusting pending sales for typical seasonal patterns, however, they actually declined by 1% from February to March.
Lack of inventory is expected to continue to hinder sales in the housing market throughout the year, CAR states.
The core areas of the Bay Area such as San Francisco and Santa Clara, on the other hand, saw an increase in pending sales. In these areas, residents experienced an increase of 8.6% and 11.6% respectively.
On the other side of the spectrum was Central Valley, which, despite having the fastest pace of home sales growth of late, watched its homes sales drop 3.5% annually. From February, however, pending sales still increased by 11.7%.
March pending home sales in Southern California have been flat, decreasing by only 0.3% from last year, but up 17.8% from February. Los Angeles had an annual increase of 1%, whereas Orange County fell by 4.3%.
The investment climate in California is becoming even more competitive in 2016 as real estate deals become increasingly harder to find, according to a recent survey by CAR.
Back in 2015, CAR released a report that predicted California’s housing market was expected to improve in 2016, but a shortage of available inventory and continuing high costs are expected to limit the improvement.