June 1st, 2008 12:19 AM by Lehel Szucs
C.A.R. reports sales increased 2.5 percent, median home price fell 32 percent in April LOS ANGELES (May 23) – Home sales increased 2.5 percent in April in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home fell 32 percent, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today.
"Home sales registered a 2.5 percent year-to-year gain compared with April 2007, ending a 30-month string of year-to-year percentage decreases that began in October 2005," said C.A.R. President William E. Brown. "This is not to say that the credit crunch that has contributed to the sales decline has disappeared. Both tighter underwriting standards and the ongoing effects of the credit/liquidity crunch continue to constrain sales."
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 366,720 in April 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 2.5 percent from the revised 357,640 sales pace recorded in April 2007.
The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2008 would be if sales maintained the April 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 April 2008 was $403,870, a 32 percent decrease from the revised $594,110 median for April 2007, C.A.R. reported. The April 2008 median price fell 2.6 percent compared with March’s revised $414,640 median price.
"Significant price declines are spurring home sales to bargain hunters and first-time buyers at the middle- and low-end of the market, especially in areas with a concentration of distressed properties," said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.
"A year ago, homes for sale under $500,000 accounted for 40 percent of sales, the middle segment ($500,000 to $1 million) made up 45 percent, and the over $1 million segment captured 15 percent of the market. As of April 2008, that has shifted to 64 percent, 26 percent, and 10 percent, respectively, as the crunch severely constrained funding to the market over $500,000, with a correspondingly dramatic decline in sales."
Highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing figures for April 2008:
. C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in April 2008 was 9.2 months, compared with 11.3 months 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.
. Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 5.92 percent during April 2008, compared with 6.18 percent in April 2007, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 5.19 percent in April 2008, compared with 5.45 percent in April 2007.
. The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 52.1 days in April 2008, compared with 53.1 for the same period a year ago.
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, 2.1 percent, or 7 out of 334 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 April 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=Mzg0OTQ.
. Statewide, the 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during April 2008 were: Saratoga, $1,480,000; Manhattan Beach, $1,372,500; Los Gatos, $1,335,000; Santa Barbara, $1,067,500; Cupertino, $918,500; San Carlos, $885,500; Danville, $829,000; Redwood City, $817,500; San Clemente, $809,500; Santa Monica, $780,000.
. Statewide, the cities with the greatest median home price increases in April 2008 compared with the same period a year ago were: Los Gatos, 11.3 percent; Yorba Linda, 6.6 percent; Carlsbad, 3.6 percent; Cupertino, 2.1 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 nearly 175,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
April 2008 Regional Sales and Price Activity*Regional and Condo Sales Data Not Seasonally Adjusted
Percent Change in Price from Prior Month
Percent Change in Price from Prior Year
Percent Change in Sales from Prior Month
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 April 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®