California pending home sales dip slightly in January; Southern California market continues to outshine other regions
Following relatively strong closed escrow home sales over the past few months, California
pending home sales slipped negligibly from a year ago, which suggests a softening in the
housing market in the upcoming months, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Making sense of the story
Based on signed contracts, statewide pending home sales decreased in January on a
seasonally adjusted basis, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* slipping 0.2
percent from 107.4 from January 2016 to 107.2 in January 2017. On a monthly basis,
California pending home sales were down 9.2 percent from the December index of 118.0.
Only the Southern California region posted a year-over-year improvement in pending sales last month, rising 8.1 percent from January 2016 and increasing 10.5 percent on a
monthly basis. Riverside County led the region in pending sales, posting a 16.2 percent
increase from a year ago. Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties also posted
modest year-over-year increases of 7.1 percent, 8.0, and 4.0 percent, respectively. San
Bernardino County was the only area within Southern California that saw pending sales
lower on an annual basis by 2.8 percent.
For the San Francisco Bay Area as a whole, tight housing supplies and low affordability
contributed to a fall in pending sales of 9.7 percent compared to January 2016. Only San
Mateo County posted an annual increase, rising 5.3 percent from January 2016 after
posting a significant double-digit annual decline (35.3 percent) in December. Pending
home sales decreased 21.2 percent in San Francisco County, 7.1 percent in Santa Clara
County, 24.9 percent in Monterey, and 4.8 percent in Santa Cruz County. A shortage of
homes on the market and poor affordability will likely persist throughout the year, and
impact Bay Area home sales.
Pending sales in the Central Valley fell 7.9 percent from January 2016 and were up 2.2
percent from December. Within Central Valley, pending sales were down 14.6 percent in
Kern County and 11.8 percent in Sacramento compared with a year ago.
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California home sales register nominal annual increase in September
California existing home sales ticked up in September on a year-over-year basis for the first time in seven months as a shortage of homes available for sale continues to hold back the market, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.
Making sense of the story
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 425,680 units in September, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2016 if sales maintained the September pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
The September figure was up 1.3 percent from the revised 420,360 level in August and up 0.8 percent compared with home sales in September 2015 of a revised 422,360. Home sales remained above the 400,000 pace for the sixth straight month, and the year-over-year increase was the first since January.
“While higher sales both on a monthly and an annual basis is a glimmer of good news, with most of the home-buying season behind us for 2016, it’s not enough to tip the scales for an increase above 2015’s sales pace,” said C.A.R. President Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli. “With listings continuing to decline and demand still strong, especially at the lower end of the market, affordability will remain a challenge for would-be buyers.”
The statewide median price remained above the $500,000 mark for the sixth straight month, with minimal signs of cooling down outside of a few select markets. The median price of an existing, single-family detached California home was down 2.3 percent in September to $514,320 from $526,580 in August. September’s median price increased 6.1 percent from the revised $484,670 recorded in September 2015. The median sales price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling, as well as a general change in values. The monthly price decline is primarily due to seasonal factors.
Zillow released a study on Tuesday, revealing some of their real estate findings; including: “half of all buyers are under age 36, meaning the Millennial generation is driving more of the housing market than we previously understood.”
Another finding had to do with the hiring of real estate agents. They found that “buyers aren’t replacing the expertise of real estate agents with online research—but they are doing a tremendous amount of research online before contacting an agent. Those who start their home searches online are actually more likely to use an agent than other buyers.”
The report summarizes Zillow’s findings in a 164-page report; click here to read about all of the real estate findings in detail.