4th Look at Local Housing Markets: California Home Sales down 34% YoY in March; Prices Down 7.0% YoY
Expect NAR to report sales of around 4.51 million SAAR for March
This is the fourth look at local markets in March. I’m tracking about 40 local housing markets in the US. Some of the 40 markets are states, and some are metropolitan areas. I’ll update these tables throughout the month as additional data is released.
Closed sales in March were mostly for contracts signed in January and February. Since 30-year fixed mortgage rates were over 6% for all of January and February - compared to 4% range the previous year - closed sales were down significantly year-over-year in March. However, the impact was probably not as severe as for closed sales in December and January (rates were the highest in October and November 2022 when contracts were signed for closing in December and January).
Note: Housing economist Tom Lawler projects that existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.51 million in March. The NAR will release March sales tomorrow.
California Home Sales Down 34.2% YoY in March, Prices Decline 7.0% YoY
California doesn’t report monthly inventory numbers, but they do report the change in months of inventory. Here is the press release from the California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.): Uptick in mortgage interest rates nudges down California home sales in March, C.A.R. reports
• Existing, single-family home sales totaled 281,050 in March on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 1.0 percent from February and down 34.2 percent from March 2022.
• March’s statewide median home price was $791,490, up 7.6 percent from February and down 7.0 percent from March 2022.
Moderately higher interest rates held California home sales essentially flat in March, while the statewide median home price recorded a healthy increase on a month-to-month basis for the first time in seven months, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 281,050 in March, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2023 if sales maintained the March pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
March’s sales pace was down 1.0 percent on a monthly basis from 284,010 in February and down 34.2 percent from a year ago, when a revised 427,040 homes were sold on an annualized basis. Sales of existing single-family homes in California remained below the 300,000-unit pace for the sixth consecutive month.
• Following its typical seasonal pattern, housing inventory in California dipped on a monthly basis for the second straight month from 3.2 months in February to 2.2 months in March, the lowest level since May 2022. The statewide unsold inventory index (UII) in March 2023, nevertheless, continued to increase from a year ago, jumping 37.5 percent on a year-over-year basis.
• With sales remaining 30 percent or more below last year’s level for more than half of the counties in California, active listings continued to surge year-over-year in March. …
• Despite the increase in overall active listings in March, housing inventory is much tighter than what the yearly growth suggests. While new active listings added in March improved 27.9 percent on a month-to-month basis from the prior month, the figure also declined 30 percent year-over-year from the same month in 2022. The drop in new active listings, in fact, was the largest dip since May 2020 when the pandemic shutdown took place.
Active Inventory in March
Here is a summary of active listings for these housing markets in March.
Inventory in these markets were down 8% YoY in March 2022 and are now up 74% YoY! So, this is a significant change from early 2022, although this is a smaller YoY inventory increase than in February (up 88% YoY).
Notes for all tables:
New additions to table in BOLD.
Northwest (Seattle), Santa Clara (San Jose), Jacksonville, Source: Northeast Florida Association of REALTORS®
Totals do not include Atlanta, Denver or Minneapolis (included in state totals)
New Listings in March
And here is a table for new listings in March (some areas don’t report new listings). For these areas, new listings were down 16.5% YoY. Potential sellers that are locked into their current homes with low mortgage rates has pushed down new listings.
Last month, new listings in these markets were down 15.4% YoY. Note that the Austin, Jacksonville and Houston areas continue to be outliers with new listings up YoY.
Closed Sales in March
And a table of March sales.
In March, sales in these markets were down 20.8%. In February, these same markets were down 21.8% YoY Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA).
This is a slightly smaller YoY decline NSA than in February for these markets. The March existing home sales report will show another significant YoY decline and will be the 19th consecutive month with a YoY decline in sales.
More local markets to come!
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