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C.A.R. Releases April Sales and Price Report

California median home price reaches highest level since December 2007; home sales register largest monthly gain since January 2011

LOS ANGELES (May 15) –Showing true signs of improvement, California’s housing market continued to perform better than expected in April with both the median home price and home sales increasing month to month, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®  (C.A.R.) said today. However, decreased home affordability remains a challenge for buyers in many areas of the state.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 394,070 units in April, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. April marked the sixth consecutive month that sales were below the 400,000 level and the ninth straight decline on a year-over-year basis. Sales in April increased 7.4 percent from a revised 367,020 in March but were down 7 percent from a revised 423,690 in April 2013. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2014 if sales maintained the April pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

“With home prices increasing by double-digits in 2013, many investors have decided to leave the market which is adversely affecting home sales as a whole,” said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown. “While the number of homes sold continued to decline from a year ago, the better-than normal surge in sales activities in April is encouraging and could be an indication that we will see further improvement in the housing market in the next few months.”

“Looking forward, it is likely that we will see a more moderate level of price increase throughout the rest of the year, and further improvements in sales in the spring home buying season,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Increasing home prices, relatively higher interest rates, and tight lending standards, however, will continue to present challenges to home buyers who are facing affordability issues. Primary home buyers may no longer have to compete with investors in 2014, but instead they need to worry about increased borrowing costs.”

Other key facts from C.A.R.’s April 2014 resale housing report include:

• Housing inventory remained tight in April, with the supply of existing, single-family detached homes for sale slipping last month to 3.5 months, down from March’s Unsold Inventory Index of 4 months, but up from 2.8 months in April 2013. The index indicates the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. A six- to seven-month supply is considered typical in a normal market.

• The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home fell to 33.8 days in April, down from 35 days in March but up from 27.9 days in April 2013.

• Mortgage rates remained flat in April, with the 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaging 4.34 percent, the same rate recorded in March, but up from 3.45 percent in April 2013, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates in April averaged 2.44 percent, down from 2.48 in March and down from 2.63 percent in April 2013.

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