California’s housing market defied gravity as existing home sales and median home price registered increases on both a monthly and an annual basis in August, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California remained above the 400,000 benchmark for the 17th consecutive month and totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 427,630 units in August, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2017 if sales maintained the August pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
The August sales figure was up 1.5 percent from the 421,460 level in July and up 1.3 percent compared with home sales in August 2016 of a revised 422,190. Year-to-date sales are running 2.7 percent ahead of last year’s pace, but have curtailed since the first quarter.
“While August’s strong housing market performance is encouraging, it’s really a tale of two markets. Despite sales growth across all segments of the market, lower-priced homes are particularly inventory constrained, which leads to weaker sales growth, faster rising prices, and fierce competition for the few homes that are listed,” said C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh. “These homes are selling faster than historically and for top dollar, adversely impacting entry-level buyers who are already struggling to afford to buy their very first home."
The statewide median price reached its highest level in a decade and remained above the $500,000 mark for the sixth straight month. The median price rose 2.9 percent from $549,460 in July to $565,330 in August and climbed 7.2 percent from the revised $527,490 recorded in August 2016. The median sales price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling, as well as a general change in values.
“A shortage of available homes for sale continues to stoke robust growth in home prices,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie-Appleton-Young. “August marked the third straight month that the median price gained 7 percent or more year-over-year, indicating that prices are not only growing, but are accelerating into the end of the year. For the most inventory constrained segment of the market – the bottom 20 percentile – home prices rose even higher with a double-digit gain (10.7 percent).”