Thursday, March 15, 2012

California Home Sales Post Higher in February; Inventory Remains Low

LOS ANGELES, Mar 15, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Recent improvements in the overall economy, combined with extremely low interest rates lifted California home sales from both the prior month and year in February, according to data from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS(R) (C.A.R.).

The median price dipped from January but is beginning to show signs of stabilization.
"While the median home price dipped in February, the year-over-year decline was the smallest recorded since December 2010," said C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold. "This may be a signal of a possible stabilization in home prices, which should bode well for prospective buyers who have been on the sidelines waiting for prices to level out and may entice them to jump into the market."

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 528,010 in February, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR(R) associations and MLSs statewide. February's sales were up 2.1 percent from January's revised pace of 517,120 and up 5.5 percent from the revised 500,480 sales pace recorded in February 2011. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2012 if sales maintained the February pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

"February sales posted a stronger than usual performance with sales in major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and San Francisco all logging double-digit gains from the previous year," said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "Recent encouraging signs in the GDP, employment picture, and consumer confidence suggest that a growing economy is in the making. All this, combined with continued-low mortgage rates, lays out a good foundation for the housing market to continue to grow as we enter the spring home buying season."

The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home dipped 0.6 percent to $266,660 in February from January's $268,280 median price. The median price was down 1.7 percent from the revised $271,370 median price recorded in February 2011.
Other key facts of C.A.R.'s February 2012 resale housing report include:
-- California's housing inventory declined in February, with the Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes decreasing to 5.3 months in February, down from a revised 5.7 months in January and down from the 7.5-month supply in February 2011. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.

-- Interest rates fell to record lows again in February. Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 3.89 percent during February 2012, down from 4.95 percent in February 2011, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 2.78 percent in February 2012, compared with 3.35 percent in February 2011.
-- The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home fell to 58.9 days in February 2012 and was down from a revised 64.7 days for the same period a year ago.
-- View Unsold Inventory by price range.

Note: The County MLS median price and sales data in the tables are generated from a survey of more than 90 associations of REALTORS(R) throughout the state, and represent statistics of existing single-family detached homes only. County sales data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors that can influence home sales. Movements in sales prices should not be interpreted as changes in the cost of a standard home. Median prices can be influenced by changes in cost, as well as changes in the characteristics and the size of homes sold. Due to the low sales volume in some areas, median price changes in December may exhibit unusual fluctuation.

Leading the way...(R) in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS(R) ( ) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with 160,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles. Entire Article:

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