California August Home Sales

September 16, 2011

An estimated 37,734 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was up 8.8 percent from 34,695 in July, and up 10.2 percent from 34,239 for August 2010. An increase from July to August is normal for the season. California sales for the month of August have varied from a low of 29,764 in 1992 to a high of 73,285 in 2005, while the average is 48,344. DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a California home last month was $249,000, down 1.2 percent from $252,000 in July, and down 4.2 percent from $260,000 for August a year ago. The year-over-year decrease was the 11th in a row after 11 months of increases. The bottom of the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009, while the peak was $484,000 in early 2007.

Distressed property sales continued to make up more than half of California’s resale market last month.

Of the existing homes sold last month, 34.6 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was up from a revised 34.5 percent in July and down from 35.6 percent in August a year ago. The all-time high was in February 2009 at 58.5 percent.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 17.8 percent of resales last month. That was up from 17.3 percent in July and down from 18.0 percent a year earlier. Two years ago short sales made up an estimated 14.3 percent of the resale market.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $982, the lowest on record. That was down from $1,027 in July, and down from $1,045 in August 2010. Adjusted for inflation, last month's mortgage payment was 56.1 percent below the spring 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 64.4 percent below the current cycle's peak in June 2006.

DataQuick Information Systems monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity increased last month. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, cash and non-owner occupied buying is flat at a high level, DataQuick reported.

Media calls: Andrew LePage (916)456-7157 or alepage@dqnews.com

Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com

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