Tuesday, April 28, 2009

California Statewide Median Home Price in March Shows First Monthly Increase Since August 2007

LOS ANGELES (April 27)Home sales increased 63.8% in March in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home declined 39%, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS (C.A.R.) reported (see chart above).

The March sales figure of 522,980 homes indicates that the market continues to be very active,” said C.A.R. President James Liptak. “All of the regions in the state experienced increases in month-to-month raw sales.”

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 522,980 in March 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 increased 63.8% from the revised 319,290 sales pace recorded in March 2008.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during March 2009 was $253,040, a 39% decrease from the revised $414,520 median for March 2008.

The March 2009 median price rose 2.2% compared with February’s $247,590 median price. “The statewide median price showed the first monthly increase since August 2007, and has remained in the $250,000 range over the past three months,” said C.A.R.’s Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “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.

“While we still face continued weakness in the general economy and expect continued foreclosures, the increased incidence of multiple offers indicates that first-time home buyers and investors are responding to dramatically improved housing affordability. Low mortgage rates and house prices, coupled with the federal first-time home buyer tax credit, is having a definite impact on the California housing market,” Appleton-Young added.

Other highlights for March 2009 include:

C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in March 2009 was 5 months, compared with 12.2 months for the same period a year ago (see chart below). 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 48.3 days in March 2009, compared with 56.8 days (revised) for the same period a year ago (see chart below).

MP: Markets are working, and a recovery is taking place in the California housing market.

Update: Top graph has been corrected.

6 Comments:

At 4/28/2009 4:25 PM, Anonymous Lisa said...

It's called a "dead cat bounce." Housing market/prices getting better? Puhleeze!!

 
At 4/28/2009 5:29 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Yes Lisa. Housing prices must continue ever downward until they finally reach $0. Solid point. Thanks for playing.

 
At 4/28/2009 7:33 PM, Blogger stilettoheels said...

You mistakenly placed the February sales count data in the March chart.

Thanks for playing with your sharp eye to detail, Bill.

You will need to wait until next month for the Case-Shiller (CS) data to confirm any March over February price increase. The CS Report issued today showed a February over January price decline.

Sales were down 16% month on month. March sales were lower than January sales. That's not good for trend continuation.

You realize that sales are seasonally adjusted at annual rate. Shouldn't the transaction volume (sales x price) be expressed in a not seasonally adjusted format? I don't believe that there is a data set to do so, however.

 
At 4/28/2009 7:39 PM, Blogger stilettoheels said...

Ooops, I found NSA sales here.

 
At 4/28/2009 10:32 PM, Blogger Bill said...

stilletoheels: I was referring to the sales price increase from February to March, 2009 in California alone. Which part of this passage from the cited piece is confusing to you?

"The March 2009 median price rose 2.2% compared with February’s $247,590 median price. “The statewide median price showed the first monthly increase since August 2007, and has remained in the $250,000 range over the past three months,” said C.A.R.’s Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young."

The bottom line is prices cannot fall forever. Aside from some minor additional corrections in some areas, prices will have to start increasing nationwide soon in order to account for increased sales, increased population, increased incomes, decreased interest rates and decreased inventory.

 
At 4/29/2009 5:37 PM, Blogger marketdoc said...

To summarize... we are continuing to see signs the real estate market is looking better. Florida was one of the hardest hit states for real estate (like California) but evidence is there that a bottom was probably reached sometime mid 2008.

 

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