Pleasanton Weekly

Real Estate - August 5, 2011

Home sales, prices post increases

Median price at highest level since last December

by Jeb Bing

California home sales edged up in June, and the median price rose to its highest level since December 2010, the California Association of Realtors reported this week.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California rose 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted 477,710 units in June, according to information collected by CAR from more than 90 local Realtor associations and Multiple Listing Services statewide. June home sales were down 3.6% from the 495,780 units sold in June 2010.

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

"As the housing market tries to gain a more solid footing, the decrease in conforming loan limits that is scheduled for later this year could adversely affect the market," said CAR President Beth L. Peerce.

"Potential buyers, especially trade-up buyers, who are looking for a home in the $500,000 to $1 million price range will, no doubt, face higher mortgage rates, larger down payment requirements, and stricter underwriting standards," she added. "Would-be buyers on the fence need to act well before Sept. 30, when the conforming loan limit is set to be lowered, to avoid a higher cost of homeownership."

The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California rose 1.0% in June to $295,300 from a revised $292,420 in May. June's median price was down 5.9% from the $313,890 recorded in June 2010.

"Looking across the state, a number of areas are showing signs of strength, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area and primarily because of the strong-performing tech industry," said CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties all posted solid sales and price gains from May levels."

Other highlights of CAR's resale housing report for June 2011 include:

* The Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes was 5.0 months in June, down from 5.5 months in May, but up compared with June 2010's 4.6-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 4.51% during June 2011, down from 4.74% in June 2010, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 3.0% in June 2011, compared with 3.86% in June 2010.

The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 50.3 days in June 2011, compared with 41.5 days for the same period a year ago.

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