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California Housing Market Bounces Back in February as Sales Perk Higher From Prior Month and Year

Image used for illustration only. – Courtesy photo / andieharsany

Led by the San Francisco Bay Region, California home sales registered healthy gains in February on both a monthly and annual basis after January’s weak start, the Arcadia Association of REALTORS® said recently.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 422,910 units in February, according to information collected by the California Association of REALTORS® from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide.

The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2018 if sales maintained the February pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

February’s sales figure was up 3.3 percent from the revised 409,520 level in January and up 5.4 percent compared with home sales in February 2017 of a revised 401,060. The year-to-year increase was the largest since March 2017, and the month-to-month increase was the largest since June 2017.

“February’s solid market performance was likely fueled by rising interest rates, which motivated buyers to rush in and close escrow before rates move even higher as they’re anticipated to do in the coming months,” said AAR President, Margaret Garemore. “Despite losing ground in January, February’s strong sales gain more than covered the loss, resulting in a 1.1 percent increase so far this year.”

While the statewide median price slipped from January, it continued to grow at a strong year-over-year pace and has remained above the $500,000 mark for a full year. The $522,440 February median price was down 1.0 percent from January’s $527,780 and was 8.8 percent higher than the revised $480,270 recorded in February 2017. The year-over-year price gain has been growing at or above 7 percent for eight of the past nine months.

“Home prices across the state continued to grow in general, especially in the Bay Area Region, where seven of nine counties posted double-digit annual increases and five of nine counties surpassed their previous peak prices,” said AAR Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cooper. “What’s more, with single-family home prices rising rapidly out of reach, buyers increasingly turned to condominiums, which pushed the median price of condominiums to a new record high.”

March 21, 2018

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