California single-family home and condominium sales were 35,842 in September 2016, a decline of 10.4 percent from August and a decline of 6.7 percent from 38,397 in September 2015. Year-to-date sales (January through September 2016) totaled 318,757 properties, down 3.7 percent from the same period in 2015.
“The normal seasonal sales decline began in September so taking a longer term view gives a complete picture of the market,” said Madeline Schnapp Director of Economic Research for PropertyRadar. “Sales from January through September fell 3.7 percent compared to the same period in 2015, the lowest since 2011. Despite lower sales, prices continue to climb higher albeit at a slower pace than prior years.”
The median price of a California home was nearly unchanged at $434,500 from $435,000 in August but gained 6.6 percent from $407,500 a year ago. The median price of a condominium was $419,000, nearly unchanged from $420,000 in August 2016 but up 6.1 percent from $395,000 in September 2015.
Within the 26 largest counties in California, on a year-ago basis, prices were higher in all but three counties. The counties with the largest annual gains were Monterey (+18.1 percent), Marin (+14.1 percent), Sonoma (+10.5 percent), San Bernardino (+9.4 percent), Santa Barbara (+9.1 percent).
“The counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay, an hour away from San Francisco and Santa Clara, are showing some of the largest price movements,” said Schnapp. “Conversations with real estate agents in those surrounding areas indicate an increasing number of Bay Area workers, willing to brave long commutes, are seeking housing in these lower priced counties.”
The number of homeowners in a negative equity position fell to approximately 450,000 in September 2016, a decline of nearly 115,000, or 20%, since September 2015.
“The silver lining in rising prices is it allows underwater homeowners to escape their negative equity prisons,” said Schnapp. “These newly freed homeowners can now refinance, taking advantage of near record low interest rates, or sell their home or buy another and become active participants in the housing market.”
- Cash Sales in September 2016 fell 11.4 percent from August and were down 7.3 percent from September 2015. Year-to-Date cash sales were down 7.4 percent compared to the same period last year. The decline in cash sales is mirroring the softness in the overall sales trends.
- Flip Sales in September 2016 was nearly unchanged for the month and down 9.7 percent over the past 12 months. In general, flip sales are lower this year than last due to the rapid disappearance of distressed properties and limited opportunity for a positive return on investment.
- Trustee Sale Purchases by LLC and LPs fell 22.4 percent for the month and were down 12.3 percent from a year ago. The outsized declines suggest that trustee sale data is incomplete for the month. Discounting the September data, trustee sale purchases have been trending mostly sideways since November 2013.
- Institutional Investor Purchases by LLC and LPs fell 8.1 percent from August 2016 but were up 5.0 percent from September 2015. Despite the year-over-year gain, investor purchases have trended mostly sideways since 2014.
- Institutional Investor Sales by LLC and LPs were nearly unchanged for the month but were down 19.2 percent from September 2015. Sales have been gradually trending lower since 2012. The gradual decline suggests the opportunity in holding properties outweighs the advantages of selling.
- Foreclosure Notices. Notices of Default (NODs) were down 15.4 percent from August 2016 and down 15.0 percent in the past 12 months. Notices of Trustee Sale (NTS) were down 11.4 percent for the month and down 11.1 from September 2015. Both NODs and NTS’ were likely impacted by September data delays.
- Foreclosure Sales were down 10.1 percent for the month and down 19.2 percent from September 2015. Foreclosure sales were also likely impacted by September data delays.