April 3rd, 2008 10:55 AM by Lehel Szucs
For release:Monday, March 24, 2008
C.A.R. reports sales decrease 28.5 percent, median home price falls 26.2 percent in February
LOS ANGELES (March 24) – Home sales decreased 28.5 percent in February in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home fell 26.2 percent, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today.
"Although sales rose for the fourth straight month in February by 9.5 percent compared to the previous month, they continue to be dragged down by the ongoing effects of both the credit/liquidity crunch and tighter underwriting standards that have reduced the pool of qualified buyers who can obtain a loan," said C.A.R. President William E. Brown.
"It is crucial that FHA reform legislation currently under consideration by congress include higher loan limits for high-cost states like California," he said. "The proposed legislation also includes a reduction in the down payment requirement for FHA loans and will include condominiums in the FHA single-family program, which will make it easier for buyers in the condominium market to qualify for loans."
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 343,220 in February 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 28.5 percent from the revised 480,170 sales pace recorded in February 2007.
The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2008 would be if sales maintained the February 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 February 2008 was $409,240, a 26.2 percent decrease from the revised $554,280 median for February 2007, C.A.R. reported. The February 2008 median price fell 4.8 percent compared with January’s revised $429,790 median price.
"The Federal Reserve Bank’s recent action to reduce the federal funds rate will have little near-term direct effect on the housing market," said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "However, Fed rate cuts should result in more favorable real estate finance rates as we move through the year."
Highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing figures for February 2008:
Regional MLS sales and price information is contained in the tables that accompany this press release. Regional sales data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors that can influence home sales. The MLS median price and sales data for detached homes are generated from a survey of more than 90 associations of REALTORS® throughout the state. MLS median price and sales data for condominiums are based on a survey of more than 60 associations. The median price for both detached homes and condominiums represents closed escrow sales.
In a separate report covering more localized statistics generated by C.A.R. and DataQuick Information Systems, 5.4 percent, or 14 out of 257 cities and communities, showed an increase in their respective median home prices from a year ago. DataQuick statistics are based on county records data rather than MLS information. DataQuick Information Systems is a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates. (The top 10 lists are generated for incorporated cities with a minimum of 30 recorded sales in the month.)
Note: Large changes in local median home prices typically indicate both local home price appreciation, and often, large shifts in the composition of housing market activity. Some of the variations in median home prices for February may be exaggerated due to compositional changes in housing demand. The DataQuick tables listing median home prices in California cities and counties are accessible through C.A.R. Online at http://www.car.org/index.php?id=MzgzNzM.
Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home price increases in February 2008 compared with the same period a year ago were: Encinitas, 25.7 percent; Santa Barbara, 23.4 percent; Walnut Creek, 21.5 percent; Redwood City, 14 percent; Carlsbad, 10.9 percent; Sunnyvale, 5.3 percent; Mountain View, 3.4 percent; Rancho Mirage, 2.6 percent; Santa Monica, 1.5 percent; Los Angeles, 1.5 percent; Santa Clarita, 0.9 percent.
Leading the way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with about 200,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
February 2008 Regional Sales and Price Activity*
Regional and Condo Sales Data Not Seasonally Adjusted
Percent Change in Sales from Prior Year
Santa Cruz County
Northern Wine Country
Palm Springs/Lower Desert
San Francisco Bay
San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara South Coast
North Santa Barbara County
na – not available
*Based on closed escrow sales of single-family, detached homes only (no condos). Reported month-to-month changes in sales activity in February overstate actual changes because of the small size of individual regional samples. Movements in sales prices should not be interpreted as measuring changes in the cost of a standard home. Prices are influenced by changes in cost and changes in the characteristics and size of homes actually sold.
sf = single-family, detached home
Source: CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Median Prices By Region – Current Month vs. Year Ago
na - not available
r - revised
Source: CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®