California March Statewide Home Sales/Median Prices

April 16, 2009

An estimated 36,215 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was up 23.9 percent from 29,225 in February and up 47.4 percent from 24,565 for March 2008. Sales have increased on a year-over-year basis the last nine months. California sales for the month of March have varied from last year's low to a peak of 68,848 in 2005, the average is 44,813. MDA DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a home last month was $223,000, down 0.4 percent from $224,000 in February, and down 37.7 percent from $358,000 for March a year ago. Around half the drop in median is due to depreciation, the other half due to shifts in the types of homes selling.

Of the existing homes sold last month, 57.4 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on. A year ago it was 35.5 percent.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $958. That was down from $976 in February, and down from $1,712 for March a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, last month's mortgage payment was the lowest in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988. The payment was 54.4 percent below the spring 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 63.1 percent below the current cycle's peak in June 2006.

MDA DataQuick is a division of MDA Lending Solutions, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates. MDA DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity is nearing its 2008 peak, while financing with adjustable-rate mortgages is at an all-time low, as is financing with multiple mortgages. Down payment sizes and flipping rates are stable, and non-owner occupied buying activity is above-average in some markets, MDA DataQuick reported.

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