California home sales wrapped up the summer on a low note, but the news doesn’t come as much of a surprise, Madeline Schnapp director of Economic Research for PropertyRadar, said in the latest report.
The report found that California single-family home and condominium sales came in at 39,091 in August, a gain of 4.4% for the month but nearly unchanged from 39,062 in August 2015.
Taking a longer-term view, year-to-date sales (January through August 2016) totaled 282,260 properties, down 3.4% from the same period in 2015.
Schnapp explained this report similarly to how she unraveled the July report.
At first look, it appeared California’s housing market in July significantly struggled. But PropertyRadar dug a little deeper into the data, finding that while home sales did decline, it wasn’t as bad as first expected.
“In the same way that July sales were artificially depressed by fewer business days than the prior year, August sales were artificially goosed higher with more business days,” said Schnapp.
“The best way to make sense of these calendar quirks is to step back and take a year-to-date view. When we do, we see slightly lower sales and higher prices, in perfect alignment with our theme since October 2015 – ‘Flat is the New Black,’” she said.
Broken up across the state, year-to-date sales have been soft throughout California; down 10.4% year-over-year in the six San Francisco Bay Area counties, down 3.4% in the Sacramento-Central Valley region and down 1.3% in Southern California.
“Peering into our crystal ball, our ‘Flat is the New Black’ market characterization of flat sales and higher prices, remains intact for the foreseeable future,” said Schnapp. “That said, we have our eyes on the San Francisco Bay Area, recent volatility in short-term interest rates and of course the presidential election.”