California Home Sales Not Drying Up
Sales Jump 33.1 Percent from February
Median Price Gains 4.8 Percent
Truckee, Calif. (CA) – March 2015 California single-family home and condominium sales were 31,989, a 33.1 percent jump from 24,031 in February, the biggest March increase in three years. Driving the increase in sales was the 36.7 percent increase in non-distressed property sales for the month.
On a year-over-year basis, sales were up 8.8 percent from 29,617 in March 2014. Regionally, March sales gained 27.2 percent across the nine Bay Area counties, 41.9 percent in Southern California, and 17.7 percent in Central California.
“For the first time in 16 months, sales were higher than a year earlier,” said Madeline Schnapp, Director of Economic Research for PropertyRadar. “Pent-up demand, mild winter weather and attractive interest rates have created a wellspring of California housing market sales. Despite the California drought dominating headlines, we aren’t seeing any data indicators that would lead us to believe that the drought is having a negative impact on the market. Obviously we’ll continue to monitor that closely.”
The median price of a California home was 393,000 dollars in March, a gain of 18,000 dollars, or 4.8 percent, from 375,000 dollars in February. For the month, median prices rose in 17 of California’s largest 26 counties. On a year-over-year basis, the median price of a California home was up 4.9 percent.
“After eight months of flat to declining prices, the surge in March sales was enough to push prices significantly higher,” said Schnapp. “Affordability, particularly in California’s sought after coastal areas, has become a big problem. The median income home buyer in these areas can no longer afford to buy the median priced home. While inventory indicators seem generally favorable, you’d be hard pressed to find buyers who are not complaining of a lack of available homes for sale.”
March Foreclosure Starts, Notices of Default (NODs), were nearly unchanged from February but were down 15.5 percent in the past 12 months. Meanwhile, Notices of Trustee Sale jumped 17.5 percent from February to its highest level since October 2014. Foreclosure Sales fell 6.8 percent for the month and were down 21.3 percent in the past 12 months. Click for more foreclosure trends.
“The surge in Notices of Trustee Sale may be indicative of renewed interest by financial institutions to liquidate foreclosure inventory to take advantage of housing prices at or near pre-crisis levels,” said Schnapp.
In other California housing news, cash and flip sales and institutional investor purchases posted outsized gains in March pointing to an increase in demand.
“As much as we would like to think otherwise, the March surge in sales is likely transitory,” said Schnapp. “High prices, lack of inventory, and uncertainty over water and snow are not going away anytime soon and will likely keep a lid on sales.”
For more information on March 2015 California property trends, please see PropertyRadar’s Real Property Report – California, March 2015. If you are unable to link to the report, please see the attached .pdf copy.
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.