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Distressed Properties Drive Home Prices Down In California

This post was written by jd on February 17, 2012
Posted Under: Real Estate
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California home sales declined from both the prior month and year in January, according to data from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.).  The median price also was lower, primarily due to a sales increase in the distressed market.

  • Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 517,740 in January, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide.
  • January’s sales were down 0.6 percent from December’s 520,940 pace and down 5.7 percent from the revised 548,760 sales pace recorded in January 2011.  The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2012 if sales maintained the January pace throughout the year.  It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
  • The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home fell to $268,280 in January, down 6.7 percent from $285,920 in December.  The median price also dropped 3.9 percent from the revised $279,220 median price recorded in January 2011.
  • “The decline in the January median home is largely a reflection of an increase in the share of distressed home sales,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Seasonal factors in the non-distressed market also played a role in the softening of the median home price, as prices typically decline in the non-peak home buying season.”
  • California’s housing inventory rose in January, with the Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes increasing to 5.5 months in January, up from 4.1 months in December but down from the 6.8-month supply in January 2011.  The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.

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