California’s housing market eased into the fall homebuying season as seasonally adjusted sales rose both month-to-month and year-to-year in September, the Arcadia Association of Realtors said today.
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California remained above the 400,000 benchmark for the past 18 months and totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 436,920 units in September, according to information collected by the California Association of Realtors 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 2017 if sales maintained the September pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
The September sales figure was up 2.2 percent from the 427,630 level in August and up 1.7 percent compared with home sales in September 2016 of a revised 429,760. While year-to-date sales are running 2.6 percent ahead of last year’s pace, that margin 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,” said AAR 2017 President Sylvia Ramos. “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.”
After reaching its highest level in a decade in August, the statewide median price slipped in September but remained above the $500,000 mark for the seventh straight month. The $565,330 August median price dropped 1.8 percent to $555,410 in September but climbed 7.5 percent from the revised $516,450 recorded in September 2016. 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 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,” said AAR Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cooper. “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.”