California September Home Sales

October 15, 2012

An estimated 34,453 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month, down 16.5 percent from 41,280 in August, and down 2.7 percent from 35,404 sales in September 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

A drop in sales between August and September is normal for the season, although last month’s decline was exaggerated because the month started and ended with a weekend and had fewer business days. September sales in California have varied from a low of 24,460 in 2007 to a high of 69,304 in 2003. Last month’s sales were 21.9 percent below the average of 43,559 sales for all months of September since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics begin.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $287,000, up 2.1 percent from $281,000 in August and up 15.3 percent from $249,000 in September 2011. Last month’s median was the highest since August 2008, when it was $301,000. September marked the seventh consecutive month in which the state's median sale price rose year-over-year. For the current cycle, the median hit bottom at $221,000 in April 2009, while it peaked at $484,000 in early 2007.

Of the existing homes sold in September, 17.7 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was down from a revised 20.0 percent in August and down from 33.8 percent a year earlier. Last month's figure was the lowest for any month since foreclosure resales made up 16.0 percent of the resale market in October 2007. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.5 percent in February 2009.

Short sales - transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property - made up an estimated 27.0 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was up from an estimated 25.9 percent the month before and up from 23.8 percent a year earlier.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,027. That was up from $1,022 in August and up from $964 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month's typical payment was 54.9 percent below the 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle, and 63.9 percent below the 2006 peak of the current cycle.

DataQuick 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 remains high by historical standards but has been trending downward and is well below peak levels. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, and cash and non-owner-occupied buying remains at a high, DataQuick reported.

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

Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com

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