California existing-home sales rise, but prices slip

by Francis Monfort20 Oct 2017
Sales of existing homes in California increased in September on both monthly and annual bases, but the median sales price slipped from the previous month, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

The state recorded closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 436,920 units. The September figure is a 2.2% increase from the 427,630 level in August and a gain of 1.7% from the revised September 2016 home sales of 429,760. Year-to-date sales are running 2.6% ahead of the 2016 pace. However, the 2017 pace has been eroding since the first quarter.

"While it's encouraging that statewide home sales improved both monthly and annually, the year-over-year sales rate is losing steam, reflecting the persistent shortage of homes for sale and an easing of concern over a surge in mortgage rates," CAR President Geoff McIntosh said. "Additionally, for the areas that have been affected by the recent wildfires, we anticipate sales will pull back in those regions as damages are assessed and replacement efforts are coordinated."

California saw the statewide median price fall during the month to $555,410, which is 1.8% down from the $565,330 August median price. The August level was the highest in a decade. Year over year, the median price rose 7.5% from the revised level of $516,450 recorded in September 2016.

"The statewide median price rose at the fastest annual pace since February 2017 as the housing supply shortage continued to dictate the market, taking a toll on home sales and affordability," CAR Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young said. "The tight inventory situation is particularly acute in the Bay Area region, which saw double-digit price increases in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties, while sales fell markedly from the previous year in six of the nine Bay Area counties."

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