California April Home Sales

May 17, 2012

An estimated 38,241 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was up 2.0 percent from 37,481 in March, and up 8.6 percent from 35,202 for April 2011. Last month's sales were the highest for any April since 48,894 homes were sold in April 2006.

On a year-over-year basis, sales have increased the past nine months. California sales for the month of April have varied from a low of 27,625 in 1995 to a high of 71,638 in 2004, while the average is 44,115. DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a home last month was $264,000, up 5.2 percent from $251,000 in March, and up 6.0 percent from $249,000 for April a year ago. Last month was the second month in a row to post a year-over-year gain in the state’s median sale price. At the bottom of the current cycle in April 2009 the state’s median fell to $221,000, while the median peaked at $484,000 in early 2007.

Distressed property sales – the combination of foreclosure resales and “short sales” – made up close to half of the state’s resale market last month.

Of the existing homes sold in April, 30.3 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was down from a revised 32.8 percent in March and down from 36.4 percent in April a year ago. Last month’s figure was the lowest for any month since foreclosure resales made up 29.6 percent of the resale market in January 2008. The all-time high for foreclosure resales was 58.5 percent in February 2009.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 18.3 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was down from 19.1 percent the month before and up from 16.9 percent a year earlier.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $997. That was up from March's $953. Adjusted for inflation, last month's typical payment was 51.6 percent below the 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle, and 64.4 percent below the 2006 peak of the current cycle.

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 high, but not increasing. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, and cash and non-owner-occupied buying is flat at a high level, DataQuick reported.

Media calls: Andrew LePage (916)456-7157 or alepage@dqnews.com

Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com

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