California January Home Sales

February 18, 2015

An estimated 25,325 new and resale houses and condos sold in California in January 2015. That was down month over month by 30.6 percent from 36,468 sales in December 2014 and down year over year by 2.0 percent from 25,832 sales in January 2014.

January home sales have varied from a low of 19,145 sales in 2008 to a high of 47,138 sales in 2004. The January 2015 sales were 18.8 percent lower than the January average of 31,177 sales since 1988, when CoreLogic DataQuick data began. California sales haven’t been above average for any particular month in more than eight years.

The median price paid for a home in California in January 2015 was $376,000, down month over month by 3.1 percent from $388,000 in December 2014 and up year over year by 6.5 percent from $353,000 in January 2014.

January 2015 marked the 35th consecutive month in which the state’s median sale price has increased on a year-over-year basis. The peak year-over-year price gain during that period was 29.2 percent in July 2013. Since then price gains have trended lower and since July 2014 the year-over-year increases have been single-digit – between about 6 percent and 7 percent from October 2014 through January 2015.

The January 2015 median price was 22.3 percent lower than California’s peak median price of $484,000, reached in March/April/May 2007, and it was 70.1 percent higher than the post-peak trough of $221,000 in April 2009. That trough was reached during a period when distressed property sales were at unusually high levels and sales of mid- to high-end homes were at relatively low levels.

Of the existing homes sold statewide in January 2015, 6.7 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was up from a revised 6.0 percent in December 2014 and down from 7.7 percent in January 2014. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.8 percent in February 2009.

Short sales made up an estimated 6.4 percent of homes that resold in January 2015, up slightly month over month from 6.3 percent in December 2014 and down year over year from 10.7 percent in January 2014. Short sales are transactions in which the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property.

The typical monthly mortgage payment for California homebuyers in January 2015 was $1,379, down from $1,457 in December 2014 and down from $1,426 in January 2014. Adjusted for inflation, the January 2015 typical payment was 40.6 percent below the typical payment in the spring of 1989, which was the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 51.8 percent below the current cycle’s peak in June 2006 and 49.0 percent above the January 2012 trough of the current cycle.

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