California Home Sales Spike 64%

Existing, single-family California home sales rose 63.8% in March from the same period a year ago to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 522,980 units while the median sales price rose 2.2% from February to $253,040, according to a monthly survey released Monday by the California Association of Realtors (CAR). The unsold inventory volume based on the current sales rate for existing, single-family homes in March 09 is 5 months, compared with 12.2 months recorded in the year-ago period. Single-family homes sat on the market a median 48.3 days in the month, from the 56.8 days seen in the year-ago period, according to the survey. CAR president James Liptak said every California region saw month-over-month raw sales increases, from 9.7% in Sacramento to 32.2% in Riverside/San Bernardino. “A number of regions around the state also have registered monthly gains for one or more months since the beginning of this year. While these are welcome signs, it remains to be seen whether home prices have stabilized,” said CAR chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young. Low mortgage rates and home prices, in concert with the federal first-time home buyer tax credit, had a predictable effect on coaxing potential buyers into the market, Appleton-Young added. But tax incentives aren’t the only driving force behind borrower turnout. Real estate-owned (REO) properties accounted for 57.4% of monthly sales in March, up from 35.5% in March 08, according to a report published in mid-April by MDA DataQuick Information Systems. Notices of default in the January-to-March period rose 80% percent from 75,230 for the prior quarter and were up 19% percent from the year-ago quarter, DataQuick found. Write to Diana Golobay at [email protected].

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