The state of California is soaking in the last rays of the calendar summer and cashing in on the last days of the traditional homebuying season, with sales soaring in August and the median home price touching on its highest reading of the year.
Data provided by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) puts the statewide median price of an existing, single-family home sold in California last month at $297,060.
“August’s median price marked the highest since December 2010, signifying that prices may be stabilizing in some market segments, as investors and first-time buyers continue to see value and opportunity in the market,” said Beth L. Peerce, C.A.R. president.
The August price point is up 1 percent from a revised $294,050 in July. Last month’s was the highest reading in eight months, but remains 7.4 percent below the $320,860 median price recorded for August 2010.
The San Francisco Bay area registered a median price of $498,190 last month, while the Inland Empire came in at
$173,670, and the Los Angeles metro fell in between at $275,100.
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California rose to a seasonally adjusted 497,390 units in August, up 8.6 percent from July, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local Realtor associations and MLSs statewide. August home sales were up 10.2 percent from the same period last year.
Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.‘s chief economist, says while the increase in August sales is encouraging, this data is largely based on closings that occurred before the debt ceiling debate in early August which spawned increased concern about the future of the U.S. economy.
“How these events and the impending reduction in the conforming loan limits will impact home sales and prices in the coming months remains to be seen,” Appleton-Young noted.
C.A.R.’s index of unsold single-family housing inventory was 5 months in August, down from 5.5 months in July and 5.8 months in August 2010. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
The biggest backlog of housing stock can be found in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, but at only a 5.4-month supply, even that is well below the national average.
By comparison, the National Association of Realtors’ assessment of market conditions for the month of July put the overall inventory of unsold homes in the U.S. at a 9.2-month supply.
The California Realtor group reports the sales cycle for single-family homes was a median 52.7 days in August, compared with 45.5 days a year earlier.