Home/Mortgages/California Home Sales Fall in January, Still Higher than Last Year

February 23, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly sales of new and existing homes in California followed seasonal norms and declined in January but remained above year ago levels while home prices ended the month lower according to real estate information provider DataQuick.

An estimated total of 28,111 new and existing homes and condos were sold in the Golden State in January. That was 25.5 percent lower than the 37,734 homes sold in December but still 1.5 percent higher than the 27,706 homes sold in January 2011. Historically, California typically averages 31,717 home sales in the month of January.

The median sales price for a home in California fell 4.1 percent to $236,000 from $246,000 in December and was 1.3 percent lower than the median price of $239,000 posted in January of 2011.

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 16 consecutive months.

Distressed property sales accounted for 55.9 percent of all re-sales in January, up from a revised 53.5 percent in December, with homes that had been foreclosed on in the previous twelve months accounting for 34.5 percent of the existing home sales. That was up from a revised 33.9 percent posted in the previous month but down from 40.4 percent in January of 2011.

Short sales accounted for an estimated 21.4 percent of all re-sales last month, up from 19.6 in December. In January of last year, short sales accounted for 18.7 percent of all existing home sales.

Low mortgage interest rates and the lowest home prices in years continued to help California borrowers keep their payments low as the typical monthly mortgage payment for home buyers in January was $893, down from $935 in December. The lowest monthly payment recorded since DataQuick started keeping records in 1988 was $882, reached in February 1999.

The payment was $106 less than the average mortgage payment of $999 in January of last year. January’s typical mortgage payment was 66.9 percent lower than it was during the current cycle’s peak in June 2006.

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