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2013 October Median price was 25.3% higher than October 2012

The California Association of Realtors (CAR) reported that California home sales declined for the third straight month in October. Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 401,170 units in October down -2.7%  from a revised 412,260 in September and down -11.1% from a revised 451,090 in October 2012. The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home edged down -0.3 % from September’s median price of $428,740 to $427,290 in October.  October’s price was 25.3% higher than the revised $340,910 recorded in October 2012, marking the 16th straight month of double-digit annual gains. For Los Angeles County the median sold price for single family homes in October was$447,130, down -2.6% from September’s median of $459,020 but up 22.6% from last October’s $364,810. The available supply of existing, single-family detached homes for sale dipped in October to 3.4 months, down from September’s Unsold Inventory Index of 3.6 months. The index was 3.1 months in October 2012. Inventory is still far below normal numbers.


The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released data saying that sales of previously owned homes fell -3.2% in October with an annual rate of 5.12 million units but were up 6% year over year. Economists had been predicting that the rate would be 5.13 units.  The median price rose 12.8%  in October from a year ago to $199,500. It was the 11th straight month of double-digit gains. The NAR reported that October's inventory was 2.13 million existing homes for sale, up 0.9% from the year-earlier period, representing five months' supply at the current pace. 

First time buyers are still a smaller part of the market, representing 28%  of all home purchases, below the historical average. Cash purchases remain high and account for about 31% of home purchases. Investors represented 19%  of the market, similar to the September sales figures. The median time on market increased to 54 days in October from 50 days in September still far below October 2012’s median of 71 days on market. A total of 36% of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month. released their National Housing Trend Report for October 2013 showing that the median list price nationwide rose year over year by 7.57% and now stands at $199,000. Inventory remains low but the median age of inventory was down by 11.32% showing that demand is still high.  “Instead of the usual seasonal slowdown, October data show the 2013 fall market moving at a fast pace,” said Errol Samuelson, president of “Inventory has returned to last year’s levels, but prices continue to strengthen and homes are moving significantly faster compared to this time last year.”


Recap of the Week Ending November 8th

The National Association of Realtors released third quarter data on metro home prices showing that home prices continued to rise in most metropolitan areas around the country. The national median price rose at its fastest rate in nearly 8 years, up 12% to $207,300 year over year, which is the strongest rise since the fourth quarter of 2005 when it rose 13.6%.

For the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, the median price rose 26.2% year over year from $355,700 to $448,900. Wow!

 According to the Mortgage Bankers Association the number of U.S. homeowners facing foreclosure hit a five year low. Only 5.7% of mortgages on one-to-four unit homes were at least 90 days past due at the end of September, down from 7% in the same period one year before. 

There is amazing activity in the market right now. We usually do not see so much in November! As a matter of fact, I don't remember a November as active as this!  It's unexpected, to say the least.


Government Shutdown Shows Impact on Real Estate Market

We are almost a week into the government shutdown and Congress now has less than two weeks to raise the debt ceiling before the U.S. is unable to borrow money to pay its bills, a move that could lead to a historic default. Most industry analysts still believe this will not occur. Frankly, it is a surprised that the stock markets and the economy has held up so will this week. You would think that with such dysfunction in our government and 750,000 government workers furloughed the markets would react more negatively. I fear that if they can not agree to increase the debt limit, which will lead to the first default in U.S. history, the negative impact will be much more severe!Odds are a default will not happen, if the folks in Washington come to their senses.

The government shutdown appears to be having an impact on interest rates. Rates were down again this week according to the  Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The 30-year fixed rate dropped down to 4.22% down from 4.32% last week. The 15-year rate also fell to 3.29% from 3.37%. These are the lowest averages seen since late June. A year ago this week according to the survey, the 30-year rate was at 3.36% while the 15-year rate was at 2.69%. Jumbo and high balance conforming are running around 4.625% for 30 year fixed and 3.75% for 15 year terms.

For some reason it seems like open escrows have picked up in the last couple weeks. This was somewhat unexpected.


Foreclosures and Short Sales are down.

Fewer and fewer sales in California are now distressed properties. The California Association of Realtors reports that the share of equity sales – or non-distressed property sales – has risen on a month-to- month basis for 18 of the last 19 months and now makes up more than four in five sales, the highest share since November 2007. The share of equity sales in August was  84.7%, compared to  82.9% in July.  In Los Angeles County the share of distressed sales for August was 15% down from 17% in July and far below the 36% it was in August 2012.


August 23rd Market Update

We have seen a pickup in open escrows! We are also seeing more homes that are sitting on the market and not selling. Many of these seem to be priced ok compared to the very highest comp, but as prices begin to flatten they must be too high.

Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate rose to 9.9% in July up from 9.7% in June. The jobless rate was down from 10.6% in July 2012. Statewide, the rate for July was 8.7% and nationwide it was 7.4%. Los Angeles County the biggest payroll jobs gainer was the entertainment industry, up nearly 8,000 jobs while the hospitality sector gained roughly 4,500 jobs in July, and the retail sector was up nearly 4,000 jobs.

Equity sales are on the rise in California. C.A.R. reports that the share of equity home sales continued to grow in July, increasing on a monthly basis for 17 of the last 18 months. Distressed sales plunged and are down 50% to a year ago.

July was a huge month for home re-sales nationwide according to the National Association of Realtors. Data showed that sales in July went up to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million meaning that housing sales across the nation are approaching a healthy level for the first time since November 2009.  Sales were up 6.5% from a 5.06 million pace in June and rose 17.2% over the past year. Sales have now stayed above an annual pace of five million for three straight months, something which hasn’t happened since 2007. First-time homebuyers continue to be seen in smaller numbers than normal, they were only 29% of the market in July (40% is the number associated with a healthy market). Much of this is their inability to get offers accepted due to cash sales by investors.

July new home sales declined nationally by 13% which was the largest month to month decline since 2010. This was attributed to very low supply of new construction as builders are having difficulty finding land and getting permits and approvals quickly enough to meet demand. Remember they pretty much stopped looking for property and building from 2008 to 2011.