Last month’s brief mortgage rate drop may have helped boost California’s existing-home sales market, with the California Association of Realtors reporting that sales were up 17.6 percent from January.
February’s sales pace was down 33.2 percent from a year ago. Despite the third straight monthly improvement, sales of existing single-family homes in California remained below the 300,000-unit pace for the fifth consecutive month.
“A brief interest rate reprieve and softer home prices during January created a window of opportunity for homebuyers to dip their toes into the home-buying waters, which helped boost home sales to the highest level in five months,” said CAR President Jennifer Branchini. “A shift toward more home sales in the lower-price segments is expected to continue to further soften home prices. However, with the availability of homes remaining extremely tight and housing supply conditions not expected to improve any time soon, prices should find bottom later this year as interest rates stabilize.”
The state’s median home price retreated for the sixth straight month in February to $735,480—the lowest price level in two years. February’s price also was lower on a year-over-year basis for the fourth consecutive month.
At the regional level, all regions except the Central Valley continued to record sales declines of more than 30 percent from a year ago, with the Far North dropping the most, down 39.4 percent. Four of the six counties in the region registered dips of more than 35 percent year-over-year in February, including the Central Coast, SoCal, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Stay tuned for our in-depth regional breakdown for both SoCal and NorCal.