Sales in 2013 were 5.9 percent below
sales in 2012 the California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) has announced,
and December sales also were down from those both in November and in the same
month the previous year. C.A.R. said
tight inventories and higher home prices squeezed a lot of potential buyers out
of the market.
"We typically see an uptick in distressed
sales at the end of the year as lenders try to move these properties off their
books," said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown. "However, the supply of
foreclosures and short sales is the lowest it's been since well before the
financial crisis, greatly constraining the number of these transactions.
In addition, housing prices are improving across the board, even reaching
pre-2007 levels in parts of the Bay Area. Higher prices and rising rates as the
Fed slowly tapers are additional factors in the sales slowdown evidenced in the
in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 361,890 units, down
6.7 percent from November's pace of 387,860 units and off 18.6 percent from the
444,770 rate in December 2012. Preliminary
figures indicate that 413,870 single family homes were sold statewide in 2013
compared to 439,790 for all of 2012.
The available supply of existing
single-family homes for sale was down to 3 months in December from 3.6 months
the previous month. In December 2012 the
supply was estimated at 2.6 months.
C.A.R. says that a six to seven month supply is considered typical in a
normal market. Median marketing time for
a single family home was 40.2 days in December, up from 36.7 days in November
and 38.1 days in December 2012.
prices, after falling for three months, rose again in December to a median
price of $438,040 from November's median of $422,210 and was a 19.7 percent
annual increase from the median of $365,840 in December 2012. Prices have increased by double digits from
the same month a year earlier for 18 months and this was the first time in 15
months that the annual increase fell below 20 percent.
"While the month-to-month price gain
was higher than normal, home prices have been stabilizing in the second half of
2013, which is positive news for buyers who have been putting their home search
on hold until prices leveled off," said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief
Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "California's housing market experienced
strong price growth throughout the year, with the median price surging 27.5
percent for the year as a whole from $319,300 in 2012 to $407,180 in
2013. But again, the increase in the median price can be partly
attributed to the increase in sales of higher-priced properties, where tight
inventory was less of a factor."
C.A.R's sales data is generated from
a survey of more than 90 Realtor associations throughout the state, and represent
statistics of existing single-family detached homes only.