California December Home Sales

January 16, 2013

An estimated 39,760 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month, up 6.1 percent from 37,481 in November, and up 5.4 percent from 37,734 sales in December 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

An increase in sales from November to December is normal for the season. December sales in California have varied from a low of 25,585 in 2007 to a high of 66,503 in 2003. Last month’s sales were 9.4 percent below the average of 43,891 sales for all months of December since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics begin.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $299,000, the highest since it was $301,000 in August 2008. Last month's median was up 2.7 percent from $291,000 in November and up 21.5 percent from $246,000 in December 2011. December was the 10th consecutive month in which the state's median sale price rose year-over-year. In March/April/May 2007 the median peaked at $484,000, then it declined to a low of $221,000 in April 2009.

Of the existing homes sold in December, 15.5 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was down from a revised 16.9 percent in November and down from 33.9 percent a year earlier. Last month's figure was the lowest for any month since foreclosure resales accounted for 15.3 percent of the resale market in October 2007. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.8 percent in February 2009.

Short sales - transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property - made up an estimated 25.3 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was down from an estimated 26.1 percent the month before and 25.5 percent a year earlier.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,054. That was up from $1,026 in November and up from $935 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month's typical payment was 54.1 percent below the 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle, and 62.8 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 have leveled off. Foreclosure activity remains high by historical standards but has been trending downward and is 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

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