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California April Home Sales Fall

Source: DataQuick. May 16, 2011

An estimated 35,202 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was down 3.3 percent from 36,417 in March, and down 6.1 percent from 37,481 for April 2010. California sales for the month of April have varied from a low of 27,625 in 1995 to a high of 71,638 in 2004, while the average is 44,359. DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a home last month was $249,000, unchanged from March, and down 2.4 percent from $255,000 for April a year ago. The year-over-year decrease was the seventh in a row after 11 months of increases. The bottom of the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009, while the peak was at $484,000 in early 2007.

Distressed property sales made up about 54 percent of California’s resale market last month.

Of the existing homes sold in April, 36.6 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was down from 39.1 percent in March and down from 38.1 percent in April a year ago. The all-time high was 58.5 percent in February 2009.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 17.6 percent of resales last month. That was up from and estimated 17.2 percent in March but down from 17.7 percent a year earlier. Two years ago short sales made up 11.8 percent of the resale market.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,050. That was the same as in March, and down from $1,108 in April 2010. Adjusted for inflation, last month's mortgage payment was 52.7 percent below the spring 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 61.7 percent below the current cycle's peak in June 2006.

San Diego-based DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity has declined somewhat but remains high by historical standards. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, cash and non-owner occupied buying has eased a bit this spring but remains relatively high, DataQuick reported.

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