Friday, January 17, 2020

CAR on California December Housing: Sales up 7.4% YoY, Inventory down 26.5%, Lowest Inventory in "nearly seven years"

by Calculated Risk on 1/17/2020 02:26:00 PM

The CAR reported: Low interest rates boost housing market in second half of year as home prices post strong gains in December, C.A.R. reports

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 398,880 units in December, 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 December pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

December’s sales total was down 1.0 percent from the 402,880 level in November and marked the first time in six months that sales fell below the 400,000 benchmark. Still, sales were up a solid 7.4 percent from December 2018’s revised 371,410 figure. For the year 2019, annual home sales fell for the second consecutive year to a preliminary 397,910 closed escrow sales in California, down from 2018’s pace of 402,640.

“Despite a sales slowdown at year-end, home sales were up from a year ago as interest rates remained low. It’s important to note, however, that the increase was due partly to low housing demand in the prior year,” said 2020 C.A.R. President Jeanne Radsick, a second-generation REALTOR® from Bakersfield, Calif. “Looking ahead, low rates should continue to provide support to the market as buyers have become more motivated to get back into the market, and home sales in California should see an improvement at the start of the year.”
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“With housing supply dropping to the lowest level in nearly seven years, California experienced an unusual jump in its median price at the end of the year when the market is supposed to cool down,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “While low rates have been fueling demand in the second half of 2019, supply constraints continued to put a drag on the market and undercut the positive effect of low rates. The surge in price is a byproduct of the imbalance between supply and demand as market competition continues to heat up.”
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California’s housing supply recorded back-to-back drops of more than 20 percent at the end of 2019, with active listings declining 26.5 percent in December after a 22.5 percent decrease in November. December marked the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year decline in supply, and it was the largest since April 2013. The number of active listings in December was, in fact, the lowest level in nearly seven years.
emphasis added