Sales of existing homes in California
were essentially flat in January the California Association of Realtors®
(C.A.R.) said on Wednesday. While
inventories loosened a bit from December levels they are still constrained and
many potential sellers are hesitant about selling, nervous about the impact of
rising rates and tight lending standards on their ability to purchase their
Homes sold at a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 363,640 in January, up 0.3 percent from a revised rate of
362,430 units in December but 13.8 percent below the pace of 421,780 units in
January 2013. C.A.R. said it was the
third straight month that sales fell below a 400,000 unit pace and the sixth
straight month when sales were lower than a year earlier.
The supply of existing single-family
detached homes for sale rose in January to 4.3 months from December's Unsold
Inventory Index of 3 as some home sellers listed their homes for the spring
home-buying season. The index was 3.5 months in January 2013. C.A.R.
noted a six- to seven-month supply is considered typical in a normal market.
President Kevin Brown said, "Supply conditions in the lower-priced segment were
especially tight as inventory for homes priced below $300,000 fell 13.4 percent
from the previous year, while inventory for homes priced $1 million and higher
increased 11.1 percent from last year."
The median price of an existing,
single-family detached home fell 6.2 percent from December's revised $438,090
to $410,990 in January. This was 22.1 percent higher than the median in
January 2013, and was thus the 23rd consecutive month of
year-over-year price increases and the 19th straight month of double-digit
annual gains. The increase in the median
was driven by sales of higher priced homes which made up a larger share of the
market compared to a year ago.
The median number of days it took to
sell a single-family home also increased to 44.3 days in January, up from 40.2
days in December and from a revised 36.7 days in January 2013.