California January Home Sales

February 18, 2010

An estimated 27,858 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was down 33.4 percent from 41,837 in December, and down 5.4 percent from 29,458 for January 2009. A decrease in sales from December to January is normal for the season. California sales for the month of January have varied from a low of 19,145 in 2008 to a peak of 47,137 in 2004, while the average is 32,048. MDA DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a home last month was $247,000, down 6.4 percent from $264,000 in December, and up 10.3 percent from $224,000 for January a year ago. Because of shifts in market mix, the statewide median always drops from December to January. The January median’s year-over-year increase was the third in a row, following 27 months of year-over-year declines. 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, 44.0 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was up from 40.8 percent in December and down from 58.2 percent in January a year ago. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.8 percent last February.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,064. That was down from $1,125 in December, and up from $969 for January a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, last month's mortgage payment was 50.1 percent below the spring 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 59.6 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 up, MDA DataQuick reported.

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