October 19, 2011 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly new and existing home sales in California followed the seasonal summer to fall sales pattern by declining as expected in September, but home prices held steady according to real estate information provider DataQuick.

An estimated total of 35,404 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the Golden State in September. That was down 6.2 percent from 37,734 sales in August but up 6.7 percent from 33,176 home sales in September 2010. Historically, California averages 43,939 home sales in the month of September.

The median price for a home in September remained unchanged from August at $249,000 but is down 6.0 percent from a median price of $265,000 in September of 2010.

The statewide current cycle peak price was $484,000 in early 2007, while the low during the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009. Year-over-year home prices have declined for 12 consecutive months.

Distressed property sales continued to account for over half of all existing home sales in the California market with 52.5 percent of all re-sales in September being distressed properties, up slightly from 52.4 percent in August, with homes that had been foreclosed on in the previous twelve months accounting for 33.8 percent of the existing home sales in September.

Foreclosure re-sales were down from a revised 34.3 percent posted in the previous month of August and also down from 35.6 percent posted in September of 2010.

Short sales increased to 18.7 percent of all re-sales last month, up from a revised 17.5 percent in August and also up from 15.6 percent in September of 2010.

Low mortgage interest rates helped California borrowers keep their payments low as the typical monthly mortgage payment for home buyers declined by another $18 from August to September falling to $964, the lowest payment on record for California when adjusted for inflation since DataQuick began keeping track in 1988.

The payment was also $91 less than the $1,055 payment observed in September of last year. September’s mortgage payment is 65.2 percent lower than it was during the current cycle’s peak in June 2006.

Tags: DataQuick, new and re-sale homes, condos, sales, median home prices, distressed properties, short sales, typical mortgage payment