Sales of new and existing homes in the previously superheated California market slid again in May.  Sales totaled 37,734 houses and condos statewide during the month, down 0.7 percent from the 37,988 which sold in April and 14.4 percent below statewide sales of 44,087 units in May 2013.

DataQuick said that historically May home sales have ranged from a low of 32,223 in 1995 to 67,958 in 2004.  The average for sales in May over the 27 years for which the company has collected data was 46,214 units and the May 2014 figure was 18.3 percent off of that average.  DataQuick said that California sales have not exceeded the average for the relevant month in more than eight years.

On the other hand, last month was the 27th consecutive one in which the state's median sale price rose on an annual basis.  The median price in May was $386,000.  This was $3,000 and 0.8 percent higher than the median in April and 13.5 percent higher than in May 2013.  Last month's median sale price was the highest since December 2007 when it was $402,000.  The peak median price in California, reached in the spring of 2007, was $484,000.  Prices in the state bottomed out from the peak in April 2009 at $221,000.

Distressed sales made up about 13 percent of all sales during May.  Properties that had been foreclosed on during the previous 12 months represented 6.0 percent of sales compared to 11.3 percent a year earlier and a marked departure from the peak of 58.8 percent in February 2009.  Short sales made up 6.9 percent of sales compared to 15.0 percent the previous May.