Home sales in California were down over
5 percent in September as buyers, according to the California Association of
Realtors® (C.A.R.) reacted to rising rates and economic uncertainty. At the same time the supply of available
properties continued to loosen up as the housing market entered the off season.
Sales of existing, single-family
detached homes in the state were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
412,880 units in September, 5.1 percent below the revised rate of 434,910 in
August and 2.6 percent below the rate of 424,000 one year earlier.
Prices in the state also backed off
the superheated pace they had been on, with the median home price down in
September for the first time since February.
The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in the
state was $428,810 in September, 2.8 percent below the median of $441,330 in
August. That September’s price, though
down, was 24.4 percent higher than the revised median of $344,760 in September
2012 shows how frothy the California market has been over the last year although
a median price is influenced by the type of home being sold as well as price
“The debate leading up to the expected
tapering of the Fed’s stimulus program caused interest rates to rise over the
past several months and might have put some of the housing demand on hold,”
said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.
“While interest rates have decreased since the Fed’s decision last month to
postpone the pullback, the government shutdown and debt ceiling discussions
over the past two weeks are likely to have an adverse effect on October home
The available supply of existing,
single-family detached homes for sale rose in September to 3.6 months about the
same as a year earlier but up from August’s Unsold Inventory Index of 3.1
months. A six- to seven-month supply is considered typical in a normal market.
“It’s encouraging that housing
inventory has been steadily improving since May, when housing supply hit its
recent bottom,” said C.A.R. President Don Faught. “While inventory
remains constrained in the lower-priced home segment and primary home buyers
continue to compete with investors, the number of properties for sale overall
has been rising since March 2013 and is at its highest level since mid-2012.”
The median marketing time for a home
increased to 29.6 days on the market from 28.8 days in August. In September 2012 it took a median of 39.2
days to sell a home.