California August Home Sales

September 14, 2012

An estimated 41,280 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month, making it the strongest August since 2006. Last month's sales total was up 4.5 percent from 39,507 in July, and up 9.4 percent from 37,734 sales in August 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

A sales increase between July and August is normal for the summer season. August sales in California have varied from a low of 29,764 in 1992 to a high of 73,285 in 2005. While sales have increased on a year-over-year basis every month since July last year, last month they were still 14.1 percent below the average of 48,061 sales for all months of August since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics begin.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $281,000, the same as the month before and up 12.9 percent from $249,000 in August 2011. The July and August median was the highest since September 2008, when it was $283,000. August marked the sixth consecutive month in which the state's median sale price rose year-over-year. For the current cycle, the median hit bottom at $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 38.2 percent of the state's resale market last month. That was the lowest since it was 37.3 percent in January 2008.

Of the existing homes sold in August, 20.0 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was down from a revised 21.7 percent in July and down from 34.3 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 an estimated 18.2 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was down from an estimated 18.8 percent the month before and up from 17.5 percent a year earlier.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,022. That was up from $1,016 in July. 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, DataQuick reported.

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

Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com

Copyright DataQuick. All rights reserved.