Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CAR: Median Home Prices down 47%

The California Association of Realtors reported on Friday their September sales and price report

C.A.R. reports sales increased 96.7 percent; median home price fell 40.9 percent in September [From September of 2007]

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 24) – Home sales increased 96.7 percent in September in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home fell 40.9 percent, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today.

“Statewide sales in September edged past the 500,000 threshold for the first time in more than two years, rising 2.3 percent compared with August and 96.7 percent compared with a year ago,” said C.A.R. President William E. Brown. “This dramatic increase in sales owes as much to market weakness a year ago in the early stages of the credit crunch, as it does to the growth of sales in September this year. Similar increases occurred in the early 1980s when the market was climbing out of a comparatively steep downturn in sales.

“We expect the market to register significant year-to-year percentage gains in the coming months as current sales are compared against extremely low numbers that prevailed during the fourth quarter of last year,” he said.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 502,190 in September at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity increased 96.7 percent from the revised 255,340 sales pace recorded in September 2007. Sales in September 2008 increased 2.3 percent compared with the previous month.

The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2008 would be if sales maintained the September pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during September 2008 was $316,480, a 40.9 percent decrease from the revised $535,760 median for September 2007, C.A.R. reported. The September 2008 median price fell 9.6 percent compared with August’s $350,140 median price.

“There is still no clear sign that the statewide median price has begun to stabilize, and recent events in the economy and financial system undoubtedly contributed to the steep decline in September, both directly and through weakened consumer confidence,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “However, individual markets may be faring better than the statewide median at this time.

“The median also will continue to face downward pressure from the large share of distressed sales and a dramatic change in the sales mix,” she said. “A year ago, the under $500,000 price range accounted for 46 percent of sales but shifted to 76 percent as of September.”

However, (Hat-Tip Mish) from the peak of California housing prices in April of 2007, CAR data shows that the median home price has fallen 47.05%. It has gone from $597,640 to $316,480 in just 17 months.