Sales of Existing Homes Drop 22 Percent in California; Prices Post Mixed Picture

Home sales decreased 22.2 percent during November in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home increased 1.4 percent, according to statistics released today by the California Association of Realtors. “After fairly steep declines in sales during the first half of the year, the market appears to have stabilized at about 450,000 sales on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis,” said C.A.R. President Colleen Badagliacco. “The median price is holding steady in the $545,000 to $550,000 range, and increased just 1.4 percent last month compared with a year ago.” Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 450,930 in November at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local realtor associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity decreased 22.2 percent from the 579,560 sales pace recorded in November 2005. The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2006 would be if sales maintained the November 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 November 2006 was $555,290, a 1.4 percent increase over the revised $547,870 median for November 2005, C.A.R. reported. The November 2006 median price increased 0.7 percent compared with October’s revised $551,620 median price. “Although the statewide median price is on track to post just under a 7 percent increase for the year, there is a mixed picture across the state, with more regions reporting year-to-year declines than increases at this point,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “We’ve seen three or more months of year-to-year price declines in areas where there was a lot of homebuilding activity and in those areas that are popular for second-home purchases.” Highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing figures for November 2006:

  • C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in November 2006 was 7.4 months, compared with 3.6 months (revised) for the same period a year ago. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 70 days in November 2006, compared with 39 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.
  • Prices in Santa Barbara County dropped more than 40 percent from October’s median level, leaving the prices in the county depressed more than 23 percent from one year ago
  • Prices in San Diego are down 6.3 percent from one year ago, while Northern California has seen a drop in median price of nearly 8 percent.

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