Home sales decreased 12.6 percent in January in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home increased 1.9 percent, the California Association of Realtors said yesterday. â€œAfter holding steady in the range of 450,000 units on a seasonally adjusted annual basis since July of last year, home sales activity was slightly lower in January,â€? CAR president Colleen Badagliacco. â€œOn a regional basis, sales fell an average of 13 percent, while median prices declined in all areas except Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Riverside/San Bernardino.â€? Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 437,580 in January at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by the CAR from more than 90 local realtor associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity decreased 12.6 percent from the 500,470 sales pace recorded in January 2006, the organization reported.
The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2007 would be if sales maintained the January pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales. The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during January 2007 was $559,640, a 1.9 percent increase over the revised $549,460 median for January 2006, the CAR said. The January 2007 median price decreased 1.7 percent compared with December’s revised $569,560 median price. â€œThe unsold inventory of existing homes jumped to 9.1 months in January, after hovering around the long-run average of 7 months since mid-2006,â€? said CAR vice president and chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young. â€œThere was a slight increase in statewide listings last month, which is characteristic of the start of the year. However, listings remained near the long-run average. As such, the increase in the unsold inventory index–the ratio of listings to sales–was driven primarily by the sales decline.â€? Unsold inventory for single-family residences shot upward, reaching 9.1 months in January compared with 5.7 months one year earlier. Average days on market also increased significantly, nearly doubling the 48 days reported for January 2006 and reaching 75 days. For more information, visit http://www.car.org.