California January 2009 Home Sales

February 19, 2009

An estimated 29,458 new and resale houses and condos were sold in California last month. That was down 22.1 percent from 37,836 in December and up 53.9 percent from 19,145 in January 2008. Sales have increased on a year-over-year basis for the last seven months. California sales for the month of January have varied from last year's low of 19,145 to a high of 47,138 in 2004, while the average is 30,837. MDA DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a home last month was $224,000, down 10 percent from $249,000 for the month before, and down 41.5 percent from $383,000 in January a year ago. Around half the drop in median is due to price depreciation, the other half due to shifts in the types of homes selling, and how those homes are financed. Last month's median was the lowest since it was $220,000 in May 2001.

Of the existing homes sold last month, 60.4 percent had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months. A year ago it was 29.6 percent.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $969. That was down from $1,110 in December, and down from $1,790 in January last year. Adjusted for inflation, mortgage payments are 54.5 percent below the spring 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle. They are 62.0 percent below the current cycle's peak in June 2006.

San Diego-based 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 waned in the fall but edged higher in December and remains near record levels, while financing with adjustable-rate mortgages is at an all-time low, as is financing with multiple mortgages. Down payment sizes and flipping rates are stable, non-owner occupied buying activity has edged a bit higher, MDA DataQuick reported.

Copyright MDA DataQuick Information Systems. All rights reserved.