California home sales even out in March

by Candyd Mendoza18 Apr 2019

March saw home sales flatten after a strong performance last month, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

March’s sales figure dropped 0.2% with a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 397,210 units, slightly down from February’s 398,040 level. Sales also were lower 6.3% compared to home sales in March last year of 23,990.

"The lowest interest rates in more than a year gave would-be buyers the confidence to enter the housing market and provided a much-needed push to jump-start the spring homebuying season," said CAR President Jared Martin. "Pending sales also showed healthy improvement in March, which suggests a brighter market outlook could be in place in the second quarter."

CAR collected the data from over 20 local realtor associations and MLSs all over the state. The statewide annualized sales figure represents the possible total number of homes sold during 2019 if sales kept up the March pace throughout the year. It is also adjusted to account for seasonal factors that usually affect home sales.

After hitting the lowest level in a year last month, California’s median home price rebounded and reached the highest point since October. It grew 5.9% to $565,880 in March from $534,140 in February and inched up 0.2% from a revised $564,820 in March the past year.

"The median price has been softening since it reached a peak last summer, and March's year-over-year price increase was the smallest in seven years," said Leslie Appleton-Young, senior vice president and chief economist at CAR. "The flattening home prices, coupled with low mortgage rates, bode well for housing affordability and may bring more buyers who may have given up back to the market."