April 19, 2012An estimated 37,481 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was up 26.5 percent from 29,630 in February, and up 2.9 percent from 36,417 for March 2011.
A jump in sales from February to March is normal for the season. Last month's sales were the strongest for the month of March since 39,811 were sold in 2007. On a year-over-year basis, sales have increased the past eight months. California sales for the month of March have varied from a low of 24,565 in 2008 to a high of 68,848 in 2005, while the average is 43,883. DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988.
The median price paid for a home last month was $251,000, up 5.0 percent from $239,000 in February, and up 0.8 percent from $249,000 for March a year ago. The year-over-year increase was the first since September 2010. The bottom of the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009, while the peak was $484,000 in early 2007.
Distressed property sales – the combination of foreclosure resales and “short sales” – continued to make up more than half of California’s resale market.
Of the existing homes sold last month, 32.5 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year – the lowest level for any month since January 2008. Last month’s figure was down from a revised 33.9 percent in February and down from 39.1 percent in March 2011. The all-time high was in February 2009 at 58.5 percent.
Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 18.9 percent of the resale market last month. That was down from 20.4 percent the month before and up from 18.5 percent a year earlier.
The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $901. That was up slightly from January's $893, which was the lowest since $882 in February 1999. Adjusted for inflation, last month's typical payment was 59.8 percent below the 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle, and 67.4 percent below the 2006 peak of the current cycle.
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 is high, but well below peak levels. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, and cash and non-owner occupied buying remain at or near record levels, DataQuick reported.
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Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com