California existing home sales ticked up in September on a year-over-year basis for the first time in seven months as a shortage of homes available for sale continues to hold back the market, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.
Making sense of the story
- Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 425,680 units in September, 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 2016 if sales maintained the September pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
- The September figure was up 1.3 percent from the revised 420,360 level in August and up 0.8 percent compared with home sales in September 2015 of a revised 422,360. Home sales remained above the 400,000 pace for the sixth straight month, and the year-over-year increase was the first since January.
- “While higher sales both on a monthly and an annual basis is a glimmer of good news, with most of the home-buying season behind us for 2016, it’s not enough to tip the scales for an increase above 2015’s sales pace,” said C.A.R. President Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli. “With listings continuing to decline and demand still strong, especially at the lower end of the market, affordability will remain a challenge for would-be buyers.”
- The statewide median price remained above the $500,000 mark for the sixth straight month, with minimal signs of cooling down outside of a few select markets. The median price of an existing, single-family detached California home was down 2.3 percent in September to $514,320 from $526,580 in August. September’s median price increased 6.1 percent from the revised $484,670 recorded in September 2015. 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. The monthly price decline is primarily due to seasonal factors.
- Even as rates were on the rise last week, mortgage application volume still managed to squeeze out a 0.6 percent increase on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports Wednesday. Total mortgage applications include those for refinancings and home purchases.
- Mortgage applications are now 18.5 percent higher than a year ago, MBA reports. Broken out, mortgage applications for home purchases rose 3 percent compared to the previous week and are now 13 percent higher than the same week one year ago. Meanwhile, applications for refinancings dropped 1 percent from the previous week, but remain 22.4 higher than a year ago (when rates were slightly higher).
- The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to its highest level last week since June. It reached 3.73 percent last week, up from 3.68 percent the week prior, MBA reports. Lenders report that mortgage rates did start to inch lower at the beginning of this week, however.
- The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 61.5 percent of total applications from 62.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity remained unchanged at 4.1 percent of total applications.
Dave Thurman ~ Real Estate Broker ~ REALTOR®