California July Home Sales

August 15, 2012

An estimated 39,507 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month. That was down 3.7 percent from 41,027 sales in June, and up 13.9 percent from 34,695 sales in July 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

A drop from June to July is normal for the summer season. July sales in California have varied from a low of 30,596 in 1995 to a high of 71,186 in 2004. While sales have increased on a year-over-year basis every month since July last year, they were still 14.7 percent below the average of 46,294 for all months of July since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $281,000, up 2.6 percent from $274,000 in June, and up 11.5 percent from $252,000 in July 2011. Last month's median was the highest for any month since September 2008, when it was $283,000. July marked the fifth consecutive month in which the state's median sale price rose year-over-year. For the current housing cycle, the median hit a bottom of $221,000 in April 2009, while it peaked at $484,000 in early 2007.

Distressed property sales - the combination of foreclosure resales and "short sales" - made up 41.0 percent of the state's resale market last month, down from 43.0 percent the month before and down from 51.8 percent a year earlier.

Of the existing homes sold in July, 22.0 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was down from a revised 24.9 percent in June and down from 34.5 percent a year earlier. Last month's figure was the lowest for any month since foreclosure resales made up 18.3 percent of the resale market in November 2007. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.5 percent in February 2009.

Short sales - transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property - made up from estimated 19.0 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was up from 18.1 percent the month before and up from an estimated 17.3 percent year earlier.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,016. That was up from $1,006 the prior month. Adjusted for inflation, last month's typical payment was 55.1 percent below the 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle, and 63.6 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 remains high by historical standards but well below peak levels. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, and cash and non-owner-occupied buying remains 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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