The California housing market ended the previous year on a high note as sales remained strong in December and median house price reached another record high. The same momentum has been carried forward in 2021. In the third month of 2021, the median home price reaches new all-time high as nearly two-thirds of homes sell above asking price, C.A.R. reports. Existing single-family home sales decreased 3.5 percent from 462,720 in February and were up 19.7 percent from a year ago, when 373,070 homes were sold on an annualized basis
Home sales eased as compared to the previous month but strong buying interest continues to provide support to the market. It’s still a seller’s market and home prices have reached a new record-high due to tight supply. March’s statewide median home price was $758,990, up 8.6 percent from February and up 23.9 percent from March 2020, according to new data from the California Association of Realtors.
Homes are moving nearly 46% faster than a year ago; the median time on the market was 8 days in March. The monthly sales decline was the third in a row, and the sales pace was the lowest since last July. The near-20 percent sales gain can be attributed partly to weak home sales a year ago as the Coronavirus outbreak abruptly halted the real estate market and economy.
New construction can’t keep up with demand in the California housing market. Every major region set a new record-high median price in March 2021 and continued to increase from last year by double digits as buyers competed amid a shortage of homes for sale. There is an increase in demand leading to bidding wars and subsequent higher selling prices. These trends show us that the California housing market remains very competitive.
The Central Coast region posted the highest year-over-year growth rate of 26.4 percent. Growth of sales are prices are driven by low mortgagee rates, buyers seeking more living space, and a perennial shortage of houisng supply. Homes are selling quickly with a minimal price reduction. The statewide sales-price-to-list-price ratio was 102.2 percent in March 2021. If it's above 100%, the home sold for more than the list price. If it's less than 100%, the home sold for less than the list price.
High demand across all California's sub-markets means that low inventory and lightning-fast market conditions are not going away soon. There just aren’t enough homes listed for sale to satisfy the demand from buyers. C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index (UII) remains low at 1.6 months in March and was down sharply from 2.7 months in March 2020. The index indicates the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current rate of sales.
In March, Six California Metros Feature in The Top 20 Hottest Housing Markets
Realtor.com takes into account market demand and pace of the market to determine an area’s hotness. That is determined by the number of unique viewers per property and the number of days a listing is active on Realtor.com’s website. In their latest hottest housing markets report for March 2021, California had six in the top 20, more than any other state.
These hottest markets saw median listing prices 18.9% higher, on average, than the national price in March. The report shows that spillover and secondary markets continue to dominate the list as buyers prioritize space while remaining close to major hubs.
Vallejo-Fairfield metro area was no. 3, with the median listing price of $550,000. It had lowest median number of days on the market, at 11. It has been on the company’s top 20 list for the last several years. Other Northern California cities in the top 20 include Yuba City in Sutter County, which came in seventh place with a median listing price of $427,000.
The Santa Cruz-Watsonville metro area was No. 8, with a median listing price of $1.2 million, and Stockton-Lodi metro area followed at No. 9 with a median listing price of $468,000. The Modesto area came in at No. 12, with a median listing price of $499,000. And in the far northwest corner of the state, the Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna area came in at No. 18, with a median listing price of $439,000.
Will The Housing Market Go Up or Down in California?
Each month C.A.R. surveys 1,000 California consumers regarding their sentiments about various aspects of the housing market or the economy that directly impact housing to create a California Housing Sentiment Index. There has been no change in the overall housing sentiment index (74) from the last month.
Mortgage rates have been on the rise in recent weeks and now average slightly above 3%. If the economy improves, rates could keep rising, but many experts expect borrowing costs to remain low by historical standards throughout 2021. Here's what consumers feel at this time.
Is it a good time to buy a home in California?
C.A.R.’s monthly Consumer Housing Sentiment Index for February 2021 found that 28% of consumers believe that now is the time to buy, and 72% think this is not a good time to buy. That’s up 3% from January 2021. As a result of rising prices and mortgage rates, the housing market sentiment also shows that only 32% of the consumers feel that it will be easier to find a home over the next twelve months. That’s down 8% from January 2021.
Is it a good time to sell a home in California?
60% of Californians in the survey think this is a good time to sell a house. That’s an increase of only 1% over the January 2021 poll. More than half of the consumers (55%) who participated in the survey feel that home prices will rise in the 12 months. That’s again up 4% from January 2021. However, not many people feel positive about the economic recovery. Only 40% (up 8% from last month) believe that economic conditions will improve in the state over the course of the next 12 months while 60% still have a negative outlook.
California Housing Market Forecast 2021-2022 (Latest Projections)
What are the California real estate market predictions for 2021? California housing market is shaping up to continue the trend of the last few years as one of the hottest markets in the U.S. Let us look at the price trends recorded by Zillow over the past few years. From the beginning of the year 2012 to the end of 2019, the median home price in California had appreciated by nearly 108%.
Currently, the typical value of homes in California is holding at $609,757 (Zillow Home Value Index). This value is seasonally adjusted to remove outliers and only includes the middle price tier of homes. California home values have gone up 11% over the past year alone. Buyer demand remains robust, which has already pushed California’s median price up by a double-digit rate of appreciation.
The latest market sentiment releases by CAR shows that more than 50% feel that home prices will rise over the next twelve months. Although the latest price forecast is not available earlier Zillow had predicted a growth of 10.6% by November 2021.
However, inventory is expected to remain a challenge that will keep sales growth in the single digits next year. The good thing is that recent survey results suggest that the housing market could be getting more listings in the coming weeks.
California Housing Market Weekly Trends
CAR's latest weekly housing data for the week ending April 3, 2021, shows that the market is strong. California REALTORS® are positive about the market as we entered the month of April. More than half (54.7%) of them expected sales to improve in the upcoming week, while nearly seven out of ten believed prices to increase from the prior week.
With the passing of the American Rescue Plan Act, the economic outlook is more positive than it was a couple of months ago when California was still under a lockdown. The economy is slowly recovering. There was strong growth in employment in March and a surge in consumer confidence to the highest level in the year.
Tight supply, however, remains a concern as it continues to hold back demand and continues to put pressure on affordability. On the flip side, the economic recovery has also begun to put upward pressure on mortgage rates. With rates hitting the highest level in eight months, the momentum of California's housing market is easing slightly in the past couple of weeks.
Mortgage rates climbed to the highest level since July 2020. The average 30-year mortgage rate recorded by Freddie Mac in March inched up to 3.08%. It is still lower than last year's rate of 3.45%.
Despite an uptick in mortgage rates, more California REALTORS® expect prices and listings to go up in the coming week. The results from the latest C.A.R. weekly survey suggest that nearly two-thirds of the respondents (69.4%) expect prices to go up next week. They believe housing demand is still stronger than normal so far in 2021, and tight supply will continue to put upward pressure on housing values.
Survey results also suggest that supply will remain tight as 48.8% of those who responded to the survey believed listings will increase in the following week, which is 6.2% more than last week. Therefore, robust price growth will not ease up until some balance between supply and demand is restored. Low interest rates, which are still low, could give buyers the purchasing power and home prices a boost.
California’s housing market forecast for 2021 is on the positive side but things could vary a bit, given the seriousness of the ongoing pandemic. Here's what could happen in 2021.
- All parties involved – buyers, sellers, and agents – agreed that home prices will likely remain on their upward trend in the short term.
- 69.4% (+4.6%) of California Realtors® feel prices will rise in the coming week.
- 54.7% (+18.4%) think that sales will grow in the coming week.
- An average of 781 daily closed transactions was reported in the past week. That is up 0.8% week-over-week.
- An average of 835 pending sales per day was reported in the past week. That is down -13.3% week-over-week.
- Seller's optimism is again down in the latest weekly trends. An average of 759 new listings per day was reported in the past week, which represents a decline of -11.7%.
- However, 48.8% (+6.2%) of California Realtors® think listings will be up next week.
- Interest rates always fluctuate, just as the real estate market does.
- We don’t see huge changes ahead in the coming months.
- They could fluctuate as more economic data become available throughout the year but the average 30-year fixed-rate average will likely stay close to 3 percent in 2021.
- With higher rates cooling off the refinancing activity, mortgage applications decreased 2.2 percent from one week earlier.
- The Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared to the prior week but was 39 percent higher than the same week one year ago, as purchase activity dropped sharply due to the pandemic.
- Zillow predicts that home prices will rise by 10.6% in the next twelve months (until November 2021).
- Most California sub-markets saw big home-price gains in 2020.
- An ongoing shortage of supply is the main reason for price appreciation.
- With the cost of borrowing at historic lows, buying a home makes more sense than renting for many first-time buyers.
- For repeat buyers, there is an increasing desire for a larger second home.
- The C.A.R.’s 2020 Annual Housing Market Survey finds that 39 percent of REALTORS® who responded said their buyers are opting for a bigger home.
- This trend is likely to continue in 2021 as well.
- 35 percent said buyers are opting for a property with more rooms.
- 37 percent said buyers are opting to live in a suburb rather than a city.
- 26 percent said buyers are opting to live in rural areas rather than cities or suburbs.
The California Association of Realtors’ economic forecast this year looks at several scenarios in predicting whether home prices and sales will rise or fall in 2021. Low mortgage interest rates and pent-up demand will bolster California home sales in 2021, but economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic and continued supply shortage will limit sales growth, according to a housing and economic forecast
Here's a rundown of the forecast released by CAR on October 13, 2020.
- The CAR's forecast points towards a modest increase in existing single-family home sales of 3.3 percent next year to reach 392,510 units, up from the projected 2020 sales figure of 380,060.
- The 2020 figure is 4.5 percent lower compared with the pace of 397,960 homes sold in 2019. Sales have declined for the last three years.
- The California median home price is forecasted to edge up 1.3 percent to $648,760 in 2021, following a projected 8.1 percent increase to $640,330 in 2020 from $592,450 in 2019.
- The median prices for existing houses, which make up two-thirds of the market, will rise a modest 1.3% next year, hitting $648,760.
- Low mortgage rates are expected to continue to fuel price growth. The average 2021 rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage will be 3.1% next year, down from 3.2% this year.
- C.A.R.’s forecast projects California’s 2021 nonfarm job growth rate at 0.5 percent, up from a projected loss of 12.7 percent in 2020. The state’s unemployment rate will dip to 9.0 percent in 2021 from this year's projected rate of 10.8 percent.
- The number of homes on the market was down 50% in 2020 and is expected to stay low in the coming year, creating a more upward push on home prices.
“The uncertainty about the pandemic, sluggish economic growth, a rise in foreclosures, and the volatility of the stock market are all unknown factors that could keep prices in check and prevent the statewide median price from rising too fast in the upcoming year,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.
The most important thing to remember is that it is a health crisis – not an economic one. This pattern differs from a standard economic recession, which is a situation in which economic activity falls for 6-18 months and then recovers more slowly. Due to a wave of job losses nationwide, this will create many distressed home sellers in the California real estate market, as well. Yet this is a buying opportunity for investors who have financing. The slowdown in what is normally a busy season will cause some realtors to go out of business.
Mortgage brokers and lenders will experience a boom in business since record low interest rates cause a spike in mortgage refinances. We’ll also see a flurry of activity in the California real estate market as people pick up where they left off. For example, those who wanted to move before school starts in the fall aren’t going to wait another year to see what the housing market is going to do.
They’ll rush to showings and try to close on a property, as long as their personal financial situation is stable. We can expect the summer of 2021 to see record activity in the California housing market due to the standard spike in real estate transactions before the school year starts.
On top of this are the young graduates and couples that want to buy their own homes. Plus there will be long-term renters who recognize the opportunity that low mortgage rates represent, searching for homes once they can be pre-approved for a mortgage and visit properties.
There will be a slower economy for a while, but several ongoing trends aren’t going to reverse themselves. Millennials will want to move out of their parent's homes and into their own. We can’t say there will be a coronavirus-led baby boom, but many families having been stuck inside with their kids will decide they want a larger home, yard, or both.
We can talk about the many people who’ve moved out of California to other states. Yet the state continues to attract immigrants from around the world. And young native-born Americans flock here for the high-paying jobs, as well. That isn’t going to change due to the virus. Tech giants expanding to Seattle or Portland haven’t relocated their development hubs out of Silicon Valley.
Furthermore, the demand for rentals in the California housing market remains strong. This is why we don’t expect to see a decline in monthly rents, though housing prices may fall significantly before shooting back up. A secondary effect of the coronavirus outbreak is that it has crimped supply chains around the world and slowed down construction.
This will drive up the value of both new and existing properties in the California housing market since the supply of new and redeveloped properties has been stifled. And there is certainly the possibility the California housing market will see bidding wars on the few available and desirable properties by people who have more margin thanks to historically low mortgage rates.
We can expect a few shifts in the California housing market long-term. Realtors will probably continue to utilize 3D virtual tours, using 360 cameras to capture images of every room in the house. This helps them sell the home 24x7x365, whether or not everyone is stuck at home.
While appraisers, stages, and construction crews can’t work remotely, we can expect far more back-office work in the real estate industry to be done remotely because that’s become commonplace. We can also expect online contract reviews and digital signatures to become the norm because it allows real estate transactions to move forward through some of the participants are at home.
Demand for housing was very strong before the coronavirus hit the U.S. This pandemic is not expected to last nearly as long as the United States subprime mortgage crisis, which was a nationwide financial crisis, occurring between 2007 and 2010.
The sharp sales drop in May was the steepest we’ve seen but there are encouraging signs that show the market is recovering and should continue to improve for the remainder of 2020.
Some of the realtors saw no decline in their businesses even during the peak of the pandemic. According to them, the real estate sector was really active even in the pandemic. The way of operating business has changed. People are working from home. They are using applications like FaceTime to show buyers homes instead of traditional open houses.
Lenders experienced a surge in demand as opportunistic buyers move to take advantage of low mortgage rates. Brett Jennings, the founder of Real Estate Experts, writes, “our market is still thriving” in Santa Clara County, seeing only a few cancellations despite shelter-in-place conditions and the fact that “we have one of the highest counts of active COVID-19 cases in California.”
According to Dr. Svenja Gudell, the chief economist of Zillow Group, when they examined pandemic histories ranging from the 1918 flu epidemic to the 2003 SARS outbreak, they noted that economies “snapped back quickly once the epidemic was over.”
Residential real estate is likely to fare far better than the commercial real estate sector. Sometimes, you have to take advantage of these market disruptions to see that many investors will pump the brakes on investing out of fear and other illogical emotional reasons, while others see the opportunity of having access to more real estate inventory, possibly better pricing, and still historically low-interest rates.
California Housing Market Trends For March 2021
Here are some of the highlights of how the California housing market performed in March 2021, according to the April 16 release by C.A.R.
- At the regional level, all major regions, except for the Central Valley, experienced a double-digit sales surge from a year ago.
- The Central Valley (9.6 percent) was the only region with a sales gain of less than 10 percent on a year-over-year basis.
- The San Francisco Bay Area had the highest year-over-year gain of 35.0 percent from March 2020.
- The Central Coast region posted the year-over-year sales gain, with a growth rate of 31.8 percent.
- The Far North region also remained strong and experienced double-digit, year-over-year sales growth of 26.1 percent.
- Southern California (23.3 percent) regions also experienced double-digit year-over-year increases in sales from a year ago.
- Sales growth in the resort markets was robust in March as the demand remains strong.
- South Lake Tahoe was particularly strong last month, with sales rising above the prior year by 128.1 percent.
- Lake Arrowhead also had a strong month with sales growing near triple-digits year-over-year.
- Big Bear increased by 54.8 percent and Mammoth Lakes jumped by 16.7 percent.
- 44 of 51 counties tracked by C.A.R. had a year-over-year increase in closed sales.
- Plumas had the strongest sales growth from last year at 208.3 percent.
- Only seven counties either were unchanged or experienced a sales decline with Yuba dropping the most from a year ago by 25.3%.
Median Home Price
- Every major region set a new record-high median price in March 2021 and continued to increase from last year by double digits.
- The Central Coast region posted the highest year-over-year growth rate of 26.4 percent.
- San Francisco Bay Area was the second strongest growing at 21.3 percent.
- Southern California had the third-highest price growth rate of all regions with its median price increasing 20.5% year-over-year
- The Central Valley region had the growth rate of 18.6% year-over-year and the Far North (12.4 percent).
- All 51 counties tracked by C.A.R. reported a gain in median price on a year-over-year basis, with 45 of them increasing more than 10 percent.
- Mono County had the largest price growth of 155.6 percent in March followed by Santa Barbara (66.7 percent).
- Twenty-seven counties set a new record-high median price in March.
- San Francisco County had the smallest price growth of all counties with a 6.0 percent increase from March 2020.
California Housing Supply
- Homeowners reluctant to list their homes for sale during the pandemic is contributing to a shortage of active listings.
- Supply should improve in the spring homebuying season as more of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted by then.
- The Unsold Inventory Index (UII) dropped to 1.6 months in March from 2.0 months in February and was down sharply from a year ago, when there was 2.7 months of housing inventory.
- The index indicates the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current rate of sales.
- Active listings fell 51.1 percent in March from last year and continued to drop more than 40 percent on a year-over-year basis for the ninth consecutive month.
- It was the third consecutive month that listings declined more than 50 percent.
- On a month-to-month basis, active listings inched up by 5.3 percent in March and should climb further in the coming months.
- The available supply of homes for sale continued to tighten up across the state, with all major regions at record low levels not seen in the past 10 years.
- Forty-nine of the 51 counties reported by C.A.R. recorded a decline in active listings on a year-over-year basis in March, and 30 of them dropped more than half of what they had a year ago.
- Yuba had the biggest drop in March, with active listings plunging 77.9 percent from last year.
- San Francisco (95.3 percent) and Sonoma (8.7 percent) were the only counties in California with an increase in active listings from the prior year.
Median Days & Sales Price to List Price Ratio
- The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home hit a record low of 8 days in March, down from 15 days in March 2020.
- C.A.R.’s statewide sales-price-to-list-price ratio posted a record high in March at 102.2 percent and was 100 percent in March 2020.
- Looking at sale-to-list percentages can help buyers and sellers get a sense of how to negotiate on pricing. The higher ratio of 100% or above shows a strong market favoring sellers.
- The statewide average price per square foot for an existing single-family home remained elevated.
- At $357, March’s price per square foot was an all-time high.
- The price per square foot was $288 in March a year ago.
Mortgage Interest Rate
- The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 3.08 percent in March, down from 3.45 percent in March 2020, according to Freddie Mac.
- The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate was an average of 2.78 percent, compared to 3.16 percent in March 2020.
California Housing Market – Regional Sales and Price Trends – March 2021
The San Francisco Bay Area had the highest year-over-year gain, at a growth rate of 35.0 percent from March 2020 while the Central Valley (9.6 percent) was the only region with a sales gain of less than 10 percent on a year-over-year basis.
Every major region set a new record-high median price in March 2021 and continued to increase from last year by double digits. The Central Coast region posted the highest year-over-year growth rate of 26.4 percent, followed by the San Francisco Bay Area (21.3 percent), Southern California (20.5 percent), the Central Valley (18.6 percent) and the Far North (12.4 percent).
These numbers can be positive or negative depending on which side of the fence you are — Buyer or Seller? It is a win-win scenario for both sellers and buyers. Home sales rebounded in June 2020 for the first time since the pandemic and California’s median home price reached $626,170, improving 6.5 percent from May and 2.5 percent from June 2019.
The monthly price increase was higher than the historical average price change from May to June and, in fact, was the highest ever recorded for a May-to-June change. Factors are businesses reopening, mortgage payments are falling, and some sellers are more ready and eager to sell. Sales remain strong in a traditional off-season and this year looks promising across the region.
It looks like 2021 will end with a new record at home sales and prices. Nearly nine out of every ten counties tracked by C.A.R. recorded a year-over-year increase in closed sales. Similarly, all 51 counties tracked by C.A.R. reported a gain in median price on a year-over-year basis, with forty-six of them increasing more than 10 percent. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, timing your local market is an important part of real estate investment.
For sellers in the California housing market, it is a good time to sell. A low inventory would keep the prices from falling. Sales Price to List Price ratio has been 102.2% in Mar 2021, which means homes are selling for almost at their asking prices. A seller would always prefer this ratio to be close to 100% or higher. Nearly 63% of the total homes were sold for more than their asking prices in March.
For buyers in the California housing market, it is a good time to buy. Low interest rates continue to fuel optimism for homebuying. The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 3.08 percent in March, down from 3.45 percent in March 2020, according to Freddie Mac. Interest rates still remain low giving buyers the purchasing power and home prices a boost. All of these factors have led the market to optimism in homebuyers. Recent forecasts from industry groups like Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association have predicted that the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage could stay within the low 3% range well into 2021.
Impact of COVID-19 on The California Housing Market (Summary)
Before the coronavirus outbreak, the declining interest rates bolstered February home sales and prices in the California housing market. The no. of home sales in February went up 6.6 percent from the 395,700 level in January, marking the first time in three months that sales jumped above the 400,000 benchmarks. February also marked the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
According to a United States Department of Commerce report, the median price nationwide for a home sold in February was $345,900, up 6.3 percent from January. As the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, the sales activity in the California housing market took a sharp decline. Many buyers backed out of purchase due to coronavirus concerns. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the new California home sales also began to drop from March onward. Here's the review of the California real estate market from March onward.
Impact of COVID-19
The immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the California housing market was that realtors canceled their open houses and half of all agents reported a drop in buyer interest. A flash poll conducted by C.A.R. between March 14-16 found that 54% of realtors had buyers who backed out from buying a home because of the coronavirus, and about 45% had sellers who backed out from selling a property. The pandemic further impacted the buying or selling of a house as California issued a statewide ‘stay at home’ order on March 19 to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
All non-essential businesses were essentially shut down. The real estate industry and many businesses that support it have been deemed non-essential. Real estate transactions like home buying, title research, residential leasing, and renting were allowed to continue. So were things like building maintenance and cleaning. Home construction was typically allowed to continue, as well. This meant that people could continue to live in their apartment and call the property manager to get the plumbing fixed.
Home sales and purchases already begun could be completed. However, it became much more difficult to arrange open houses or take photos of a property for sale. Some realtors adapted by setting up virtual showings of properties, whether it was via cell phone video, high-resolution photos, or drone. However, photographers can’t travel to properties, while stagers and appraisers can’t travel to homes that owners want to sell.
This froze the housing market for the most part due to shelter-in-place orders. Financial services were considered essential; this included banks and mortgage lenders. Unfortunately, the shutdown of up to 80 percent of the country means many are afraid to take out a home loan even if they still have a job. That is why mortgage applications fell by 30 percent in the last quarter of March 2020 while unemployment applications hit a record three million.
The U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims are that over 40 million people have already lost their jobs.
As new coronavirus cases were detected in California and the ‘shelter-in-place’ mandate was extended, a sharp sales decline increased unsold inventory – leading to a balanced real estate market. The COVID-19 pandemic kept both buyers and sellers on the sidelines in the California housing market. Many potential sellers delayed putting their homes on the market, which led to fewer new listings. Some of the buyers were excited and decided to not enter the market due to their weak financial condition. California home sales experienced the worst month-to-month sales decline in more than four decades.
Home sales dropped sharply in April from both the previous month and year as the housing market began to feel the full impact of the state’s stay-at-home order, according to C.A.R.
This was because of a decline in open houses and home showings which are impossible to be held in such conditions. Existing, single-family home sales totaled 277,440 in April on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 25.6 percent from March and down 30.1 percent from April 2019. Additionally, sales in escrow were also delayed by the closure or limited availability of all the essential services related to a home sale.
The statewide median price remained above the $600,000 benchmark for the second consecutive month in April, price growth showed clear signs of softening when compared to the past six months. The April statewide median price of $606,410 for existing single-family homes in the state dipped 1.0 percent from March, and the 0.6 percent gain was essentially flat from April 2019, when the median price was $603,030. The year-over-year price gain was substantially smaller than the six-month average gain of 7.8 percent recorded between October 2019 and March 2020.
California home sales fell to the lowest level since the Great Recession as the housing market suffered the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic in May, according to a June 16 release by CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. As housing demand in California fell sharply in May, home prices also took a dip. The median home price fell below last year’s price for the first time since February 2012 and breaking the state’s 98-month year-over-year price gain streak.
All major regions dipped in sales by more than 35 percent from last year. The Bay Area and Central Coast dropping the most at -51.1 percent each. Southern California home sales dropped by -45.6 percent, and the Central Valley by -36.6 percent. Existing single-family home sales were down by 13.9 percent from April and down by 41.4 percent from May 2019. May’s statewide median home price was $588,070, down 3.0 percent from April and down 3.7 percent from May 2019. Year-to-date statewide home sales were down 12.9 percent in May.
Median prices continued to dip in May from last year in the Central Coast and the Bay Area but inched up slightly in the Central Valley region. The median home price was virtually unchanged in Southern California. The unsold inventory index jumped to 4.3 months in May from 3.4 months in April and was up from 3.2 months in May 2019. Total active listings continued to decline on an annual basis for the 11th consecutive month.
The 34 percent year-over-year decrease in listings was the biggest drop since March 2013. The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home dipped to 17 days in May from 18 days in May 2019. C.A.R.’s statewide sales-price-to-list-price ratio was 99.7 percent in May 2020, up slightly from 99.3 in May 2019.
After the California real estate market suffered its worst month in 13 years, California’s Realtors and landlords saw a big rebound in June. The housing markets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, and Sacramento saw the biggest recovery. Home Sales were up 42.4 percent from May and down 12.8 percent from June 2019. The luxury market suffered the most with more than 50% drops in sales. Sales Price to List Price Ratio of 99.5% in June means homes are selling for very close to their listing prices.
June’s statewide median home price was $626,170, up 6.5 percent from May and up 2.5 percent from June 2019. Throughout the state, single-family home prices rose 6.5% to $626, 170, or a rise of $38,000 from the previous month. Sales grew 42.5% from May. California condo prices rose 4.6% and month-to-month sales increased by 68.5%. Condo prices have risen 4.6% YoY while sales slumped 16.2%.
The return in the COVID-19 cases remains a concern across the nation as well as California, and it may hinder the recovery of the housing market in the second half of 2020. Meanwhile, the lowest ever mortgage rates have been able to increase the buyer activity, which in turn may help to sustain the rise in sales in the coming months.
After falling to the lowest level since the Great Recession, continued to improve in August as home sales climbed to their highest level in more than a decade as the median home price broke last month’s record and hit another high, according to September 16 release by C.A.R.
Existing, single-family home sales totaled 465,400 in August on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, up 6.3 percent from July and up 14.6 percent from August 2019. August’s statewide median home price was $706,900 up 6.1 percent from July and up 14.5 percent from August 2019. Year-to-date statewide home sales were down 6.8 percent in August.
In September, the California housing market outperformed expectations, breaking record high median price for the fourth straight month. Existing, single-family home sales totaled 489,590 in September on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, up 5.2 percent from August and up 21.2 percent from September 2019.
September’s statewide median home price was $712,430 up 0.8 percent from August and up 17.6 percent from September 2019. Year-to-date statewide home sales were down 3.7 percent in September. The home price exceeded the $700,000 mark for the second consecutive month.
Existing, single-family home sales totaled 484,510 in October on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 1.0 percent from September and up 19.9 percent from October 2019. October’s statewide median home price was $711,300 down 0.2 percent from September and up 17.5 percent from October 2019. Year-to-date statewide home sales were down 1.3 percent in October.
Existing, single-family home sales totaled 508,820 in November on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, up 5.0 percent from October and up 26.3 percent from November 2019. November’s statewide median home price was $699,000 down 1.7 percent from October and up 18.5 percent from November 2019. Year-to-date statewide home sales were up 1.3 percent in November.
Existing, single-family home sales totaled 509,750 in December on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, up 0.2 percent from November and up 28 percent from December 2019. December’s statewide median home price was $717,930, up 2.7 percent from November and up 16.8 percent from December 2019. For 2020 as a whole, sales of existing statewide homes were up 3.5 percent from last year.
Existing, single-family home sales totaled 484,730 in January 2021 on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 4.9 percent from December and up 22.5 percent from January 2020. January’s statewide median home price was $699,890, down 2.5 percent from December and up 21.7 percent from January 2020.
Existing, single-family home sales totaled 462,720 in February on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 4.5 percent from January and up 9.7 percent from February 2020. February’s statewide median home price was $699,000, down 0.1 percent from January and up 20.6 percent from February 2020, according to C.A.R.