The California Association of Realtors
(C.A.R.) said on Thursday that the state's housing market is showing "true
signs of improvement." The market performed better than expected in April;
sales increased faster than at any time in the last three years and median home
prices reached the highest level since before the Great Recession.
Sales of existing single-family detached
homes in California were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 394,070 units,
an increase of 7.4 percent from March sales of 367,020. Even with that increase sales were 7 percent lower
than a year earlier, the ninth straight month of year-over-year losses, and it
was the sixth consecutive month that sales failed to reach a 400,000 rate.
"With home prices increasing by
double-digits in 2013, many investors have decided to leave the market which is
adversely affecting home sales as a whole," said C.A.R. President Kevin
Brown. "While the number of homes sold continued to decline from a year
ago, the better-than normal surge in sales activities in April is encouraging
and could be an indication that we will see further improvement in the housing
market in the next few months."
The median price of an existing home
was $449,360 in April, the highest median price since December 2007. This was a 3.2 percent increase from March
and was 11.6 percent higher than in April 2013 when the median was
$402,830. California has seen an annual
increase in its median price for 27 consecutive months.
"Looking forward, it is likely that
we will see a more moderate level of price increase throughout the rest of the
year, and further improvements in sales in the spring home buying season," said
C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "Increasing
home prices, relatively higher interest rates, and tight lending standards,
however, will continue to present challenges to home buyers who are facing
affordability issues. Primary home buyers may no longer have to compete
with investors in 2014, but instead they need to worry about increased
The median marketing time for a
single family home sold in April was 33.8 days compared to 35 days in March and
27.9 days in April 2013. The inventory
of existing single-family homes tightened from a 4 month supply in March to 3.5
months in April. A six-to-seven month supply is considered typical in a normal
C.A.R.'s sales and price data is
gathered in a survey of more than 90 Realtor associations throughout the state
and the information is not seasonally adjusted.