Pleasanton Weekly

Real Estate - June 24, 2011

California home sales decline in April

But median home prices increase

by Jeb Bing

California home sales declined in April, while home prices increased, the California Association of Realtors reported last week.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 499,830 units in April, according to information collected by CAR from more than 90 local Realtor associations and MLSs statewide. April home sales were down 2.9% from March but up 5% from the previous year.

The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2011 if sales maintained the April pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

"An improving economy, coupled with the steady pace of distressed sales in the market and the typical seasonal pattern in the median home price, suggests the statewide median price has reached its low point for this year and is unlikely to hit the bottom reached in February 2009," said CAR President Beth L. Peerce.

The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California rose 2.5% in April to $293,570, up from a revised $286,510 in March. April's median price was down 4.4% from the $307,000 recorded in April 2010.

"While down from March, April's sales level still was solid, posting the strongest year-over-year sales gain since August 2009," said CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "At this point in the cycle, the market seems to be responding to the fundamentals of the housing market and economy, and sales are on track to match or slightly exceed last year's figures."

Highlights of CAR's resale housing report for April 2011:

The Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes was 5.4 months in April, down from 5.3 months in March, but up compared with April 2010's 4.9-month supply. 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 4.84% during April 2011, down from 5.10% in April 2010, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 3.20% in April 2011, compared with 4.16% in April 2010.

The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 53 days in April 2011, compared with 37.4 days for the same period a year ago.

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