The lowest interest rates in more than a year boosted California’s housing market and kept home sales level in March after an exceptionally strong performance the previous month, 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 397,210 units 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 2019 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 figure was down 0.2 percent from the revised 398,040 level in February and down 6.3 percent from home sales in March 2018 of 423,990.
“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 C.A.R. 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.”
Active listings continued to climb from the prior year, increasing 13.4 percent from last March. It was the 12th consecutive month active listings rose year-over-year and the ninth month in a row they grew double digits from the prior year. The pace of increase, however, was the slowest since July 2018, and the growth rate has been decelerating since December 2018.
The Unsold Inventory Index (UII), which is a ratio of inventory over sales, improved on a year-over-year basis but decreased on a month-to-month basis. The Unsold Inventory Index was 3.6 months in March, down from 4.6 months in February but up from 3.0 months in March 2018. The index measures the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. The jump in the UII from a year ago can be attributed to the moderate sales decline and the sharp increase in active listings.
Here is some inventory data from the NAR and CAR (ht Tom Lawler). Note that the YoY increase has been slowing in both California and Nationally.
|YOY % Change, Existing SF Homes for Sale|