by Francis Monfort
Existing home sales in California reached their highest level in nearly four years in June as the market saw strong gains in sales and median home prices for the second straight month, according to the California Association of Realtors.
The increases come despite the lowest housing-inventory levels in the year.
On a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 443,150 units in June. The figure is an increase of 3.3% from the revised 428,890 level in May and 2.4% higher compared to revised home sales of 432,880 in June 2016. Year-to-date sales are up 3.2% from the 2016 pace.
CAR President Geoff McIntosh said the low inventory remains the largest single factor influencing the state’s housing market.
“With active listings 13.5% lower than last June, we’ve now experienced a full two years in which active listings have fallen on a year-over-year basis and the lowest inventory level this year. Would-be sellers aren’t listing their homes, as many of them would also face an inventory challenge if they were to turn around and buy another property,” McIntosh said.
The June state-wide median price was $555,150, up 0.9% from a revised $550,080 in May and up 7.0% from a revised $518,830 in the year-ago period. The June figure marks the fourth straight month where the price remained above the $500,000 mark and the highest level since August 2007.
CAR Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young said that the June sales growth was seen mostly in the mid- to higher-end price ranges, with sales in the lower price ranges seeing a significant decrease.
“This factor has disproportionately pushed prices higher at the lower end of the market, leading to eroding affordability that either prevents or delays first-time buyers from getting on the housing ladder,” Appleton-Young said.