CALIFORNIA HOUSING MARKET KICKS OFF YEAR HIGHER IN JANUARY

California’s housing market started the year on a high note, following up on December’s strong showing with higher sales both on a monthly and yearly basis in January, C.A.R. reported.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 420,100 units in January, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide.

The January figure was up 2.1 percent from the 411,430 level in December, and up 4.4 percent compared with home sales in January 2016 of a revised 402,220. The month-to-month gain was the first December-to-January increase since 2012, which is an encouraging sign.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached California home fell below the $500,000 mark for the first time since March 2016, but home prices remain seasonably strong. The median price was down 3.8 percent from a revised $508,870 in December to $489,580 in January.

January’s median price was up 4.8 percent from the revised $467,160 recorded in January 2016, a slightly slower pace than the 5.6 percent increase averaged last year. Since 2011, price declines from December to January have usually ranged from -11.7 percent to as little as -4.6 percent, but January’s 3.8 percent monthly smaller price decline suggests that price pressure remains relatively robust and could translate into additional price growth as the spring and summer home-buying seasons near.