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March home sales and price report

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For release:
April 17, 2017

Spring homebuying season kicks off strongly as prices and sales propel higher

- Existing, single-family home sales totaled 416,580 in March on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, up 4 percent from February and up 6.9 percent from March 2016.

- March’s statewide median home price was $517,020, up 8 percent from February and up 6.8 percent from March 2016.

- At the regional level, the San Francisco Bay Area, Inland Empire, and Los Angeles metro area all experienced healthy annual sales gains of 6.4 percent, 8.5 percent, and 6.7 percent, respectively.

LOS ANGELES (April 17) – California’s spring housing market posted a strong start to the year as existing home sales and median price registered healthy gains in March on both a monthly and annual basis, as did every major region in the state, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today. 
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California remained above the 400,000 benchmark for a full year and totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 416,580 units in March, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2017 if sales maintained the March pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales. The March figure was up 4 percent from the 400,720 level in February and up 6.9 percent compared with home sales in March 2016 of a revised 389,770.

“March’s solid sales performance was likely influenced by the specter of higher interest rates, which may have pushed buyers off the sidelines and close escrow before rates moved higher,” said C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh. “The strong housing demand, coupled with a shortage of available homes for sale, is pushing prices higher as would-be buyers try to purchase before affordability gets worse.”

Following back-to-back monthly price declines, the median price of an existing, single-family detached California home climbed back above $500,000 in March. The median price was up 8 percent from $478,570 in February to reach $517,020 in March, and was 6.8 percent higher than the $484,120 recorded in March 2016. The median sales price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling, as well as a general change in values.

“The spring homebuying season is off to a good start, as the economic and market fundamentals remain solid for the most part,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “However, higher interest rates, a dearth of housing inventory, and slow wage growth will continue to have an adverse effect on housing affordability that is putting upward pressure on home prices, and is sure to hamper the market throughout the year.”
Other key points from C.A.R.’s March 2017 resale housing report include:

• New statewide active listings continued to decline, falling 12 percent from a year ago, and contributed to a full one-month drop in the unsold inventory index.

• The substantial decline in new listings combined with March’s robust sales brought down C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index to its lowest level so far this year and the third lowest level in more than three years. The index, which measures the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate, dropped a full month to 3.0 months in March from 4.0 months in February. The index stood at 3.6 months in March 2016.

• The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home fell from 33.5 days in February to 26.7 days in March and was down from 29.9 days in March 2016.

• C.A.R.’s sales-to-list price ratio* was 99.3 percent of listing prices statewide in March, 98.6 percent in February, and 98.9 percent in March 2016.

• The average price per square foot** for an existing, single-family home statewide was $252 in March, $241 in February, and $232 in March 2016.
• San Francisco County had the highest price per square foot in March at $872/sq. ft., followed by San Mateo ($838/sq. ft.), and Marin ($688/sq. ft.). Counties with the lowest price per square foot in March included Del Norte ($115/sq. ft.), Lassen ($118/sq. ft.), and Siskiyou ($125/sq. ft.).

• Mortgage rates have risen since last fall. The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 4.20 percent in March, up from 4.17 percent in February and up from 3.69 percent in March 2016, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable-rate mortgage interest rates dipped in March to an average of 3.21 percent, from 3.20 percent in February and 2.90 percent in March 2016.

Graphics (click links to open):

• March sales at-a-glance infographic.
• Calif. historical existing home sales.
• Calif. historical median home price.
• Share of sales by price range.
• Calif. price per square foot.
• Calif. sales to list price ratio.

Note:  The County MLS median price and sales data in the tables are generated from a survey of more than 90 associations of REALTORS® throughout the state, and represent statistics of existing single-family detached homes only. County sales data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors that can influence home sales.  Movements in sales prices should not be interpreted as changes in the cost of a standard home.  The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical than average prices, which are skewed by a relatively small share of transactions at either the lower-end or the upper-end. Median prices can be influenced by changes in cost, as well as changes in the characteristics and the size of homes sold.  The change in median prices should not be construed as actual price changes in specific homes.

*Sales-to-list price ratio is an indicator that reflects the negotiation power of home buyers and home sellers under current market conditions. The ratio is calculated by dividing the final sales price of a property by its last list price and is expressed as a percentage.  A sales-to-list ratio with 100 percent or above suggests that the property sold for more than the list price, and a ratio below 100 percent indicates that the price sold below the asking price.
**Price per square foot is a measure commonly used by real estate agents and brokers to determine how much a square foot of space a buyer will pay for a property.  It is calculated as the sale price of the home divided by the number of finished square feet.  C.A.R. currently tracks price-per-square foot statistics for 39 counties.

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than 190,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
# # #


March 2017 County Sales and Price Activity
(Regional and condo sales data not seasonally adjusted)

March-17 Median Sold Price of Existing Single-Family Homes Sales
State/Region/County Mar-17 Feb-17   Mar-16   Price MTM% Chg Price YTY% Chg  Sales MTM% Chg  Sales YTY% Chg
CA SFH (SAAR) $517,020 $478,570 r $484,120 r 8.0% 6.8% 4.0% 6.9%
CA Condo/Townhomes $430,620 $407,040   $400,170 r 5.8% 7.6% 46.8% 6.0%
Los Angeles Metro Area $474,550 $454,270   $448,420 r 4.5% 5.8% 44.4% 6.7%
Inland Empire $335,660 $327,510   $309,890   2.5% 8.3% 40.3% 8.5%
S.F. Bay Area $837,720 $784,470   $761,090 r 6.8% 10.1% 62.7% 6.4%
                   
S.F. Bay Area                  
Alameda $833,750 $786,000   $758,000 r 6.1% 10.0% 66.4% 5.5%
Contra Costa $585,000 $554,250   $548,780 r 5.5% 6.6% 76.7% 11.2%
Marin $1,250,000 $1,174,500   $1,187,500 r 6.4% 5.3% 67.9% 0.7%
Napa $675,000 $660,000   $650,000 r 2.3% 3.8% 98.3% 23.2%
San Francisco $1,350,000 $1,276,000   $1,355,000 r 5.8% -0.4% 60.4% 12.6%
San Mateo $1,350,000 $1,352,000   $1,205,000   -0.1% 12.0% 69.9% 8.6%
Santa Clara $1,130,000 $1,100,000   $1,065,000   2.7% 6.1% 57.2% 11.6%
Solano $400,000 $382,500   $370,000 r 4.6% 8.1% 42.5% -6.8%
Sonoma $635,000 $598,640   $560,000 r 6.1% 13.4% 43.9% -5.2%
Southern California                  
Los Angeles $465,810 $470,200 r $441,700 r -0.9% 5.5% 45.3% 8.4%
Orange  $760,000 $745,000   $720,200 r 2.0% 5.5% 48.2% 7.3%
Riverside  $375,000 $367,250   $350,000 r 2.1% 7.1% 47.3% 12.9%
San Bernardino $263,100 $265,450   $237,350   -0.9% 10.8% 29.1% 1.1%
San Diego $571,000 $559,950   $550,000 r 2.0% 3.8% 42.3% 8.2%
Ventura $672,220 $636,180   $620,020 r 5.7% 8.4% 58.0% -15.8%
Central Coast                  
Monterey $562,450 $535,000   $490,000   5.1% 14.8% 31.6% 4.1%
San Luis Obispo $547,500 $556,000   $550,000 r -1.5% -0.5% 64.6% 10.2%
Santa Barbara $810,000 $844,000   $569,000   -4.0% 42.4% 44.2% -4.3%
Santa Cruz $814,500 $799,000   $790,000   1.9% 3.1% 15.5% -15.8%
Central Valley                  
Fresno $245,000 $229,900   $231,000 r 6.6% 6.1% 36.3% 10.2%
Glenn $211,000 $181,500   $196,000 r 16.3% 7.7% 16.7% 16.7%
Kern  $225,000 $218,000   $220,000 r 3.2% 2.3% 52.1% 4.1%
Kings  $215,000 $222,500   $205,000 r -3.4% 4.9% 11.5% -8.4%
Madera $220,000 $252,000   $219,500 r -12.7% 0.2% 40.0% 16.7%
Merced $229,500 $231,000   $185,000 r -0.6% 24.1% 33.3% -8.9%
Placer  $440,000 $435,000   $405,000 r 1.1% 8.6% 45.2% 0.9%
Sacramento $326,750 $324,900   $305,000 r 0.6% 7.1% 37.4% -1.9%
San Benito $525,000 $517,500   $495,000   1.4% 6.1% 13.2% -25.9%
San Joaquin $320,000 $314,730   $295,000 r 1.7% 8.5% 53.9% -1.5%
Stanislaus $271,450 $270,500   $262,000 r 0.4% 3.6% 52.2% 8.1%
Tulare $210,000 $216,500   $198,000 r -3.0% 6.1% 27.8% 17.9%
Other Calif. Counties                   
Amador $314,900 $265,000   $307,000 r 18.8% 2.6% 113.0% -10.9%
Butte  $287,500 $290,000   $286,810 r -0.9% 0.2% 34.8% -7.7%
Calaveras $292,000 $294,500   $270,000 r -0.8% 8.1% 25.7% -8.3%
Del Norte $130,000 $265,000   $199,000 r -50.9% -34.7% -21.4% -52.2%
El Dorado  $450,000 $419,500   $435,010 r 7.3% 3.4% 57.2% -15.8%
Humboldt $295,000 $297,500   $280,000 r -0.8% 5.4% 51.5% -1.9%
Lake  $215,000 $230,000   $242,450 r -6.5% -11.3% 58.7% -15.1%
Lassen $182,000 $171,000   NA   6.4% NA 122.2% NA
Mariposa $285,000 $335,000   $227,500 r -14.9% 25.3% -40.0% 12.5%
Mendocino $395,000 $381,500   $379,000 r 3.5% 4.2% 32.3% -19.6%
Mono $1,022,500 $520,880   $580,000   96.3% 76.3% 166.7% -23.1%
Nevada $383,750 $390,000   $364,900 r -1.6% 5.2% 44.0% 2.9%
Plumas $565,000 $210,000   $225,000 r 169.0% 151.1% -8.3% -47.6%
Shasta $239,000 $235,000   $222,250 r 1.7% 7.5% 41.7% -3.1%
Siskiyou  $184,000 $240,000   $151,000 r -23.3% 21.9% 69.6% 30.0%
Sutter $258,000 $269,120   $232,000 r -4.1% 11.2% 39.1% -4.5%
Tehama $201,000 $225,000   $189,500 r -10.7% 6.1% 110.5% 0.0%
Tuolumne $270,500 $287,500   $244,900 r -5.9% 10.5% 33.3% -4.5%
Yolo $393,000 $372,000   $362,500 r 5.6% 8.4% 33.3% -24.1%
Yuba $254,900 $256,500   $235,450 r -0.6% 8.3% 15.9% -4.8%

r = revised
NA = not available

 

March 2017 County Unsold Inventory and Time on Market
(Regional and condo sales data not seasonally adjusted)

March-17 Unsold Inventory Index Median Time on Market
State/Region/County Mar-17 Feb-17   Mar-16   Mar-17 Feb-17   Mar-16  
CA SFH (SAAR) 3.0 4.0   3.6   26.7 33.5 r 29.9  
CA Condo/Townhomes 2.4 3.3   2.9   24.3 27.3   27.6  
Los Angeles Metro Area 3.3 4.5   4.0   37.6 45.3   48.6 r
Inland Empire 3.6 4.8   4.5   44.7 50.2   54.4  
S.F. Bay Area 2.2 3.0   2.6   21.1 24.3   21.2  
                     
S.F. Bay Area                    
Alameda 1.9 2.6   2.2   18.3 20.2   18.0  
Contra Costa 2.1 3.0   2.4   19.6 22.3   18.9  
Marin 3.7 4.6   3.5 r 24.2 40.7   24.6 r
Napa 3.4 6.2   4.5 r 50.2 73.1   48.3 r
San Francisco 2.0 2.7   2.7   21.2 23.9   20.4  
San Mateo 2.0 2.5   2.3 r 18.1 19.8   18.6  
Santa Clara 2.0 2.5   2.6 r 17.9 20.7   18.1  
Solano 2.4 3.1   2.5 r 40.2 47.7   38.5  
Sonoma 2.8 3.4   3.0 r 42.4 48.7   44.7  
Southern California                    
Los Angeles 3.0 4.1   3.6   29.8 38.8   43.2  
Orange  3.4 4.5   3.9   32.6 44.0   49.0  
Riverside  3.6 5.3   4.8   45.6 50.1   57.5  
San Bernardino 3.5 4.1   4.0   42.8 50.3   48.7  
San Diego 2.7 3.5   3.4   21.7 24.4   23.2  
Ventura 3.6 4.8   4.0   52.0 64.6   53.8  
Central Coast                    
Monterey 4.2 5.3   4.9 r 27.4 29.8   29.7  
San Luis Obispo 3.6 5.4   4.7   29.0 46.8   28.8  
Santa Barbara 4.8 6.3   4.6   32.5 48.7   31.0  
Santa Cruz 3.6 3.2   3.4 r 20.1 35.0   21.1  
Central Valley                    
Fresno 3.5 4.4   4.2   25.5 27.5   27.8  
Glenn 6.4 6.9   5.3   52.8 50.3   100.7  
Kern 3.1 4.7   3.8   27.4 38.3   29.1  
Kings  3.2 3.0   2.9   27.8 37.2   37.8  
Madera 4.6 5.9   6.9   45.5 71.2   80.3  
Merced 3.1 3.7   3.4   29.5 25.4   41.2  
Placer  2.6 3.2   3.2   22.7 24.7   23.0  
Sacramento 2.1 2.5   2.4   20.2 23.8   21.1  
San Benito 3.3 3.6   2.9 r 33.4 47.6   23.1  
San Joaquin 2.6 3.5   2.6   23.6 28.2   24.2  
Stanislaus 2.4 3.4   2.8   23.8 28.8   24.6  
Tulare 4.1 4.9   4.6   29.2 43.7   33.5  
Other Counties in California                    
Amador 4.6 7.9   3.9   56.0 38.3   75.5  
Butte  2.9 3.5   3.4   24.8 50.0   26.6  
Calaveras 5.1 5.9   5.1   72.6 85.7   95.8  
Del Norte 11.4 8.7   5.9   123.4 112.8   112.8  
El Dorado  3.7 4.6   3.9   39.1 45.5   38.0  
Humboldt 3.8 5.4   3.7   23.6 34.2   42.1  
Lake  4.8 7.4   4.3   59.1 55.2   76.4  
Lassen 6.0 12.2   NA   123.6 82.8   NA  
Mariposa 7.6 3.9   13.1   27.1 50.3   91.0  
Mendocino 7.3 8.5   7.3   121.7 81.3   95.8 r
Mono 8.9 14.3   NA   129.3 121.0   NA  
Nevada 3.4 4.2   4.3   38.7 54.0   29.7  
Plumas 20.9 15.0   11.8   129.3 130.7   129.7  
Shasta 3.9 5.1   4.4   29.5 39.3   47.7  
Siskiyou  5.8 9.2   7.7   79.1 91.0   80.3  
Sutter 3.0 3.4   3.3   24.8 39.7   48.6  
Tehama 4.8 9.7   5.3   91.0 65.8   55.2  
Tuolumne 5.0 6.0   5.3   68.3 82.8   80.9  
Yolo 3.0 3.4   2.4   22.8 26.6   21.5  
Yuba 2.5 2.5   2.7   28.0 28.0   25.4  
r = revised
NA = not available

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