CA Housing Trends: Affordability, Sales, Prices, and More

Image of house keys

So far, California home sales activity in early 2020 is on par with maintaining last year’s momentum according to the latest report issued by the California Association of Realtors (CAR) in late February.

A current snapshot of sales, price, and local affordability trends can help credit unions plan for 2020 when it comes to the mortgage market, interest rates, and members’ plans — both existing homeowners and new buyers:

You can view CAR’s localized/regional "January Home Sales and Price Report" here, as well as the association’s local "4th Quarter Housing Affordability" here.

  • Existing single-family home sales totaled 395,550 in January on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate — down 0.7 percent from December, but up 10.3 percent from January 2019.
  • January’s statewide median home price was $575,160 — down 6.5 percent from December, but up 7.1 percent from January 2019.
  • The statewide Unsold Inventory Index was 3.4 months in January — up from 2.5 months in December, but down from 4.6 months in January 2019.
  • At the regional level, non-seasonally adjusted sales rose from last year in all major regions, except the Bay Area. Sales in Southern California increased the most at 15.7 percent, followed by the Central Coast (10.8 percent) and Central Valley (9.5 percent). The San Francisco Bay Area was the only region that experienced a sales dip on an annual basis with the declines occurring primarily in the higher-cost areas of the region. Thirty-three of the 51 counties tracked by CAR experienced year-over-year sales growth with San Benito gaining the most from last year at 166.7 percent.
  • At the regional level from a price perspective, median prices in all regions increased in January from a year ago, with Central Coast increasing the most at 11.1 percent, followed by Central Valley (8.2 percent), Southern California (7.8 percent), and the Bay Area (2.0 percent).
  • Thirty-nine of the 51 counties tracked by CAR report a year-over-year gain in price in January, with Siskiyou gaining the most at 68.9 percent from last year. Of the 12 counties that experienced a price drop from last January, Mariposa had the biggest decline of 15.9 percent, while prices in the remaining counties all declined less than 9.0 percent.
  • The available supply of homes for sale in the state inched up slightly after reaching an 80-month record low in December but continued to drop on a year-over-year basis for the seventh consecutive month. Housing inventory continued to fall by double digits, with active listings declining 26.9 percent in January after a 25.9 percent dip in December. The January drop was the largest since April 2013.
  • The sizable drop in active listings, together with the surge in sales, resulted in a decline in Unsold Inventory Index (UII) to 3.4 months from 4.6 months a year ago. On a month-to-month basis, supply climbed 1.6 percent from the prior month but was lower than the average December-to-January increase of 2.8 percent based on data going back to 2008.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home fell from a year ago, declining from 38 days in January 2019 to 31 days in January 2020.
  • CAR’s statewide sales-price-to-list-price ratio* was 98.4 percent in January 2020, up from 97.3 in January 2019.
  • The statewide average price per square foot** for an existing single-family home was $275 in January 2020 and $263 in January 2019.
  • The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 3.62 percent in January, down from 4.46 percent in January 2019, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate was an average of 3.33 percent, compared to 3.91 percent in January 2019.

Pin It