– Existing, single-family home sales totaled 430,060 in May on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, up 5.4 percent from April and 2.6 percent from May 2016.
– May’s statewide median home price was $550,200, up 2.3 percent from April and up 5.8 percent from May 2016.
– At the regional level, the San Francisco Bay Area, Inland Empire, and Los Angeles metro area all registered year-to-year sales increases of 4.9 percent, 9 percent, and 6.9 percent, respectively.
LOS ANGELES (June 20) – California’s housing market rebounded in May as existing home sales and median home price recorded strong gains on both a monthly and annual basis, a trend in every major region of the state, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California remained above the 400,000 benchmark for the 14th consecutive month and totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 430,060 units in May, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2017 if sales maintained the May pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales. The May figure was up 5.4 percent from the revised 408,030 level in April and up 2.6 percent compared with home sales in May 2016 of a revised 419,000.
“Mortgage rates dropping to the lowest level since November could have been a motivating factor for the sales increase in May,” said C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh. “The low interest rate environment, however, may not last long as the Federal Reserve’s gradual rate hike and plan to reduce its balance sheet will likely lead to higher rates, and could change the momentum of the market.”
The statewide median price stayed above the $500,000 mark for the third straight month and reached the highest level since August 2007. The median price was up 2.3 percent from a revised $537,920 in April to reach $550,200 in May, and was 5.8 percent higher than the revised $519,930 recorded in May 2016. 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.
“Despite a solid performance thus far in the spring housing market, the continued mismatch between buyers and available homes for sale that’s driving up home prices remains an issue,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Stubbornly low supply levels will continue to propel prices higher and, when combined with imminently higher interest rates, will worsen an already dismal affordability issue in the housing market.”
Other key points from C.A.R.’s May 2017 resale housing report include:
• The May sales increase was wide reaching as every major region in the state posted an increase over the previous year. The Inland Empire experienced the largest sales gain with a 9 percent increase in existing home sales from last May, followed by an increase of 6.9 percent in the Los Angeles Metro Area, and a 4.9 percent rise in the San Francisco Bay Area.
• New statewide active listings declined for the 23rd month in May, falling 12.4 percent from a year ago.
• The increase in sales, coupled with the double-digit decline in active listings, worsened May’s housing inventory outlook. C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index fell from 3.3 months in April to 2.9 months in May. The index measures the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. The index stood at 3.4 months in May 2016.
• At the county level, 42 of 51 reported counties experienced a drop in the unsold inventory index compared to a year ago. Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties had the lowest inventory (1.7 months), followed by San Francisco County (1.9 months) and Sacramento (2.0 months), all in either the Bay Area or a neighboring county to the region, where supply constraints remain a serious issue.
• The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home nudged down from 24.2 days in April to 22.4 days in May and was down from 27.4 days in May 2016.
• C.A.R.’s sales-to-list price ratio* was 100 percent of listing prices statewide in May, 100 percent in April, and 99.7 percent in May 2016.
• The average price per square foot** for an existing, single-family home statewide was $267 in May, $259 in April, and $251 in May 2016.
• San Francisco County had the highest price per square foot in May at $918/sq. ft., followed by San Mateo ($875/sq. ft.), and Marin ($696/sq. ft.). Counties with the lowest price per square foot in May included Lassen ($122/sq. ft.), and Siskiyou and Del Norte ($127/sq. ft.).
• Mortgage rates continued to dip lower since early this year. The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 4.01 percent in May, down from 4.05 percent in April but up from 3.6 percent in May 2016, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable-rate mortgage interest rates dipped in May to an average of 3.12 percent from 3.15 percent in April but was up from 2.81 percent in May 2016.