"Consistent with the state as a whole, nearly all the counties for which we have data also experienced an improvement in distressed sales," said CAR President Beth L. Peerce. "However, distressed sales in most of the counties were higher than a year ago, as the market continues to work through large numbers of troubled mortgages."
Distressed housing market data:
• The total share of all distressed property types sold statewide declined in March to 51%, down from 56% in February and unchanged from 51% in March 2010.
• Non-distressed sales made up the remaining share at 49% in March, up from 44% in February but unchanged from 49% in March 2010.
• Of the distressed properties sold statewide, the total share of REO (real estate-owned) sales was 31% in March, down from 33% in February, and down from 32% in March 2010.
• The statewide share of short sales also dropped in March to 20%, down from 23% in February but up from 19% in March 2010.
• The median price of homes sold in the state varied dramatically depending on the property type, with non-distressed properties selling for much higher prices than short sales and foreclosures. Price differences across short sales, REOs and non-distressed properties reflect variances in the condition of the property, with REOs typically being in worse condition than short sales and non-distressed properties. A seller's circumstance, such as needing to sell under duress, is also a factor.
• The statewide median price of non-distressed properties sold in March was $386,500, which is $111,800 or 41% higher than the short sale median price of $274,700 recorded in March, and $181,500 or 88% higher than the March REO median price of $205,000.
March pending home sales in California rose from February, according to CAR's pending Home Sales Index (PHSI). The index was 128.7 in March, rising 15.2% from February's revised index of 111.7, based on contracts signed in March. The index was down 0.3% from March 2010, when the presence of housing tax credits played a strong role in home sales. Pending home sales are forward-looking indicators of future home sales activity, providing information on the future direction of the market.