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California Home Sales Higher in July; Price Gains Continue Strong but Tapering

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Regional Spotlight—California’s housing market bounced back after a slight dip in June to reach the highest level since May 2012, as home prices continued to post strong annual gains and home sales recorded the first annual increase in six months, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported.

“The spike in interest rates in June prompted home buyers to delay escrow closings in hopes that rates would fall back,” says C.A.R. President Don Faught. “As buyers recognized rates had stabilized, they moved forward to close escrow, which lifted July’s sales from both the previous month and year.”

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 443,520 units in July, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. Sales in July were up 7 percent from a revised 414,670 in June and up 1.5 percent from a revised 436,870 in July 2012. The year-to-year sales increase was the first since December 2012, following six consecutive months of declines. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2013 if sales maintained the July pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home inched up 1.2 percent from June’s median price of $428,620 to $433,760 in July. July’s price was 29.8 percent higher than the revised $334,220 recorded in July 2012, marking 17 straight months of annual price increases and the 13th consecutive month of double-digit annual gains. The median sales price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling as well as a general change in values.

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