Home sales increased 4.7 percent in November in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home rose 5.8 percent, according to a report issued by the California Association of Realtors (CAR). “First-time buyers continued to drive the market in November, as many opened escrow to take advantage of the federal tax credit prior to its original Nov. 30 expiration,” said CAR President Steve Goddard. “The extension and expansion of the tax credit until April 30, 2010, along with low interest rates, should continue to positively impact the market in coming months. Efforts by lenders and the government to assist homeowners at risk of foreclosure have led to fewer homes available for sale, and an increase in the state’s median home price. California’s median home price increased year over year in November for the first time since August 2007."
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 536,720 in November at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by CAR from more than 90 local Realtor associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity increased 4.7 percent from the revised 512,840 sales pace recorded in November 2008. Sales in November 2009 decreased 4.6 percent compared with the previous month.
The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2009 would be if sales maintained the November 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 November 2009 was $304,520, a 5.8 percent increase from the revised $287,880 median for November 2008, CAR reported. The November 2009 median price rose 2.4 percent compared with October’s $297,500 median price.
“With sales bottoming out more than two years ago, and the median home price reaching its trough in February 2009, California remains ahead of the nation in market recovery,” said CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie-Appleton-Young. “The median price for most regions hit bottom during the first half of the year, and the statewide median home price now is nearly $60,000 higher than its lowest point in the current cycle.
“California home buyers have responded to the much-improved affordability over the last several months,” she said. “Despite November’s uptick in the median home price, affordability in the state remains near historic highs.”
Highlights of CAR’s resale housing figures for November 2009:
► C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in November 2009 was 4.5 months, compared with 7.1 months (revised) 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 4.88 percent during November 2009, compared with 6.09 percent in November 2008, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.41 percent in November 2009, compared with 5.26 percent in November 2008.
► The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 33.1 days in November 2009, compared with 44.4 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.
Regional MLS sales and price information are 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 CAR and DataQuick Information Systems, 102 of the 362 cities and communities reporting 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.
Statewide, the 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during November 2009 were: Los Altos, $1,475,000; Palo Alto, $1,222,500; Los Gatos, $1,166,500; Manhattan Beach, $1,163,500; Laguna Beach, $1,035,000; Newport Beach, $1,021,000; Cupertino, $985,000; Danville, $815,000; Santa Monica, $807,500; and Santa Barbara, $749,000.
Statewide, the cities with the greatest median home price increases in November 2009 compared with the same period a year ago were: Cupertino, 37.8 percent; Poway, 35.8 percent; Morgan Hill, 33.2 percent; Lake Forest, 25.6 percent; Atwater, 24.4 percent; San Rafael, 23.8 percent; Atascadero, 22 percent; Vista, 21.2 percent; Tulare, 19.8 percent; Fountain Valley, 18 percent.
For more information, visit www.car.org.