Tuesday, March 19, 2019

CAR: "California home sales rebound in February"

by Calculated Risk on 3/19/2019 01:25:00 PM

The CAR reported: California home sales rebound in February; median price dips, C.A.R. reports

California home sales bounced back in February after hitting the lowest sales level in more than 10 years the previous month, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today. February’s annual sales level was the highest in six months, and the monthly growth in sales was the highest since January 2011.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 399,080 units in February, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2019 if sales maintained the February pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

February’s sales figure was up 11.3 percent from the revised 358,470 level in January and down 5.6 percent from home sales in February 2018 of 422,910. February’s decline was the smallest since July 2018, and the sales total was just shy of the 400,000 benchmark.

“Lower interest rates and stabilizing home prices motivated would-be buyers to get off the fence in February,” said C.A.R. President Jared Martin. “With mortgage rates reaching their lowest point in a year, housing affordability improved as buyers’ monthly mortgage payments became more manageable. Instead of the double-digit growth rates that we observed a few months ago, monthly mortgage payments increased by 2.7 percent, the smallest increase in the last 12 months.”
...
“While we expected the federal government shutdown during most of January to temporarily interrupt closings because of a delay in loan approvals and income verifications, the impact on January’s home sales was minimal,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The decline in sales was more indicative of demand side issues and was broad and across all price categories and regions of the state. Moreover, growing inventory over the past few months has not translated into more sales.”
...
While statewide active listings have been increasing from the previous year at a double-digit pace for the last eight months, February’s rate was the smallest growth rate in the past six months and the third month in a row that listings decelerated. February’s active listings were up 19.2 percent from a year ago.

The Unsold Inventory Index (UII), which is a ratio of inventory over sales, improved on a year-over-year basis but was flat on a month-to-month basis. The Unsold Inventory Index was 4.6 months in February, unchanged from January but up from 3.9 months in February 2018. The index measures the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. The jump in the UII from a year ago can be attributed to the moderate sales decline and the sharp increase in active listings.
emphasis added
Here is some inventory data from the NAR and CAR (ht Tom Lawler).

YOY % Change, Existing SF Homes for Sale
  NAR
(National)
CAR
(California)
Sep-17-8.4%-11.2%
Oct-17-10.4%-11.5%
Nov-17-9.7%-11.5%
Dec-17-11.5%-12.0%
Jan-18-9.5%-6.6%
Feb-18-8.6%-1.3%
Mar-18-7.2%-1.0%
Apr-18-6.3%1.9%
May-18-5.18.3%
Jun-18-0.5%8.1%
Jul-180.0%11.9%
Aug-182.1%17.2%
Sep-181.1%20.4%
Oct-182.8%28%
Nov-184.2%31%
Dec-184.8%30.6%
Jan-194.6%27%
Feb-19NA19.2%