California December Home Sales

January 21, 2010

An estimated 41,837 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was up 16.7 percent from 35,860 in November, and up 10.6 percent from 37,836 for December 2008. An increase in sales from November to December is normal for the season. California sales for the month of December have varied from a low of 25,585 in 2007 to a peak of 65,793 in 2004, the average is 44,708. MDA DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a home last month was $264,000, up 1.1 percent from $261,000 in November, and up 6.0 percent from $249,000 for December a year ago. The year-over-year increase was second in a row, following 27 months of year-over-year decline. The median peaked at $484,000 in early 2007 and hit a low of $221,000 last April.

Of the existing homes sold last month, 41.0 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was up from a revised 40.1 percent in November and down from 55.2 percent in December a year ago. It peaked at 58.8 percent last February.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,125. That was up from $1,106 in November, and up from $1,110 for December a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, last month's mortgage payment was 47.3 percent below the spring 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 57.3 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 has declined somewhat but remains high by historical standards. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, and non-owner occupied buying is above-average in some markets, MDA DataQuick reported.

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