News from the California Association of Realtors
LOS ANGELES (Jan. 25) – The median price of an existing home in California in December increased 15.6 percent and sales decreased 17.6 percent compared with the same period a year ago, the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today.
“Sales fell last month compared with December 2004’s record-setting pace, prompted by consumers’ concerns about rising interest rates,” said C.A.R. President Vince Malta. “The last few months of 2005 marked the first time since mid-2004 that the fixed-rate mortgage was above 6 percent on a sustained basis and the adjustable-rate mortgage was above 5 percent for three months in a row.
“Consumers also were rattled by both the spike in energy costs and the hurricanes late last year,” he said. “Looking ahead, we expect those concerns to impact transactions completed in January as well.”
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 531,910 in December 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 decreased 17.6 percent from the 645,860 sales pace recorded in December 2004.
The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2005 would be if sales maintained the December 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 December 2005 was $548,430, a 15.6 percent increase over the $474,270 median for December 2004, C.A.R. reported. The December 2005 median price remained nearly unchanged compared with November’s $548,680 median price.
“We are experiencing a return to a more balanced market, in line with our expectations, although unsold inventory is still near historical lows, with a 3.6 month supply of homes for sale,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Time on the market also is nearly unchanged at 44 days in December compared with 40 days for the same period last year.
Highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing figures for December 2005:
. C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in December 2005 was 3.6 months, compared with 2 months (revised) for the same period a year ago. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
. Thirty-year fixed mortgage interest rates averaged 6.27 percent during December 2005, compared with 5.75 percent in December 2004, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 5.17 percent in December 2005 compared with 4.18 percent in December 2004.
. The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 44 days in November 2005, compared with 40 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.
Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during December 2005 were: Los Altos, $1,427,500; Calabasas, $1,295,000; Newport Beach, $1,080,000; San Clemente, $1,025,000; Rancho Palos Verdes, $1,020,000; Santa Barbara, $1,000,000; Los Gatos, $972,500; Danville, $960,000; Cupertino, $924,000; Mill Valley, $918,0