2013 California housing market forecast

California’s housing market will continue to recover in 2013, as home sales are forecast to increase for the third consecutive year and the median price to rise for the second straight year, according to California Association of Realtor’s “2013 California Housing Market Forecast,” released Tuesday.

The C.A.R. forecast sees sales gaining 1.3 percent next year to reach 530,000 units, up from the projected 2012 sales figure of 523,300 homes sold. Sales in 2012 will be up 5.1 percent from the 497,900 existing, single-family homes sold in 2011.

C.A.R.’s forecasts the average for 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates will edge up to 4 percent after six consecutive years of declines, but will still remain historically low.

The statewide median home price is forecast to increase a moderate 5.7 percent to $335,000 in 2013. Following a decrease in 2011, the California median home price will climb a projected 10.9 percent in 2012 to $317,000.

“The housing market momentum which began earlier this year will continue into 2013,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Pent-up demand from first-time buyers will compete with investors and all-cash offers on lower-priced properties, while multiple offers and aggressive bidding will continue to be the norm in mid- to upper-price range homes.”

“The actions of underwater homeowners will play an important role in housing inventory next year, with rising home prices inducing some to stay put and others to list and move forward,” she said.