Sales of existing single-family homes in California increased 2.5 percent in March compared with the same period a year ago, according to a report released Thursday by the California Association of Realtors.
The median price of an existing single-family home rose 20.8 percent to $301,790 in March, compared with $249,790 for March 2009.
“The end of the federal tax credit on April 30 will remove some urgency from the market, but is not likely to derail current market trends as favorable prices and low mortgage rates continue to attract buyers and investors,” said association President Steve Goddard.
“The March year-to-year median price gain of 20.8 percent was the largest in more than five years,” he said. “With the number of homes for sale in the state expected to remain lean, gains in the statewide median price may well outpace the nation going forward.”
In comparison, the Press Democrat’s monthly housing report earlier this month found single-family home sales for Sonoma County down 5 percent from a year ago. The median price increased 9 percent to $349,000.
The county median price was nearly unchanged from February, but sales increased 17 percent on a month-to-month basis. (Click here for the full story.)
The county’s condo sales were a different story. They jumped 54 percent in March compared to a year earlier. The median price increased nearly 8 percent to $177,500. The newspaper is slated to publish a story Sunday on the condominium market.
On Thursday the National Association of Realtors reported that combined U.S. sales of existing houses and condos rose 6.8 percent from March 2009.
The national median price for all housing types was $170,700 in March, up 0.4 percent from March 2009. Distressed homes accounted for 35 percent of sales last month – unchanged from February.
Lawrence Yun, the national association’s chief economist, called it encouraging to see a broad home sales recovery in nearly every part of the country, with two important underlying trends.
“Sales have been above year-ago levels for nine straight months, and inventory has trended down from year-ago levels for 20 months running,” Yun said. “The homebuyer tax credit has been a resounding success as these underlying trends point to a broad stabilization in home prices. This is preserving perhaps $1 trillion in largely middle class housing wealth that may have been wiped out without the housing stimulus measure.”
— Robert Digitale