CALIFORNIA — California single-family home and condominium sales fell 3.5 percent to 36,912 in May from 38,249 in April. What is unusual this month is the decrease in sales was due to a decline in both distressed and non-distressed property sales that fell 8.6 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively. The monthly decline in non-distressed sales is the first May decline since 2005.
On a year-over-year basis, sales were up slightly, gaining 2.3 percent from 36,096 in May 2014. Regionally, year-over-year sales were down 3.5 percent across the nine Bay Area counties but up 5.6 percent in Southern California and 9.0 percent in Central California.
“While home sales were up statewide, results varied regionally,” said Madeline Schnapp, Director of Economic Research for PropertyRadar. “Year-over-year sales posted solid increases in Southern and Central California, likely due to lower price points and better affordability, but were lower in the Bay Area where many potential home buyers have been priced out of the market.”
The median price of a California home was nearly unchanged at $396,750 in May, down 1.8 percent from $404,000 in April. Within California’s 26 largest counties, most experienced slight increases in median home prices, edging higher in 21 of California’s largest 26 counties. The counties that saw the biggest median price increases were Santa Barbara (+11.4) and Marin (+6.3 percent).
On a year-over-year basis, the median price of a California home was nearly unchanged, up 0.4 percent from $395,000 dollars in April 2014. While at the county level most of California’s 26 largest counties exhibited slower price increases, four counties continued to post double digit gains. Those counties were San Francisco (+20.0 percent), Stanislaus (+12.1 percent), Alameda (+10.3 percent) and Sonoma (+10.6 percent).
“With the exception of a few counties, price increases have slowed considerably,” said Schnapp. “You cannot defy gravity. The environment of rising prices on lower sales volumes was destined not to last. Higher borrowing costs since the beginning of the year and decreased affordability was bound to impact sales sooner or later. We may also be seeing the fourth year in a row where prices jumped early in the year, only to roll-over and head lower later the rest of the year.”
“One of the factors we keep hearing about that might impact sales is the ongoing drought,” said Schnapp. “New water regulations are coming down the pike fast and furiously. While we haven’t seen any broad based impact on residential real estate sales yet, grumbling about the new water restrictions is certainly becoming louder.”
PropertyRadar provides software, data and analysis products for Real Estate professionals to find opportunities, lower risk and increase productivity. PropertyRadar has been serving its customers since 2007 (previous Brand name and older product known as ForeclosureRadar) and counts thousands of real estate investors, Realtors® and other real estate professionals among its subscribers. Bloomberg, 60 Minutes, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, the Associated Press and many other leading media outlets have cited our data as the authoritative source for property-related reports, trends, graphs and insights. The company was launched in May 2007 by Sean O’Toole, who spent 15 years building software companies before entering the professional real estate market in 2002 where he successfully bought and sold more than 150 residential and commercial foreclosures.