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The Ups and Downs of California’s Housing Market

Home sales in California increased 37.4 percent in March from February 2018 but showed a modest decline of 3.7 percent over the same period last year according to CoreLogic’s analysis of the Golden State’s housing market at the end of the first quarter of 2018.

The report said that 39,867 new and existing homes and condos sold across the state in March, recording the second-highest month of home sales for that month in five years.

The state’s median home price has risen year over year for 73 consecutive months. This trend continued in March with the median price of homes increasing 4.3 percent month over month to $480,000 from $460,000 in February and 7.9 percent from $445,000 recorded in March 2017. Compared to $486,000 recorded in May 2007, the median prices in March 2018 were still 1.3 percent below this peak price.

Two California regions bucked this trend with Southern California and San Francisco hitting new peaks for home prices, the report indicated. A total of 20,883 homes and condos were sold in Southern California in March 2018 at a median price of $519,000, an increase of 8.4 percent from $479,000 in March 2017.

Similarly, the San Francisco Bay area recorded sales of 7,122 new and existing houses and condos at a median price of a record $820,000, up 14.7 percent from $715,000 recorded during the same period last year, and only 0.6 percent below the region’s June peak in 2006 after adjusting for inflation.

“The rise in prices and mortgages rates over the past year has not yet led to a large statewide increase in the use of adjustable-rate mortgages, or ‘ARMs,’ which have lower initial rates and payments,” CoreLogic said. In March 2018, ARMs represented 11.7 percent of all home purchase loans, an increase of 11.1 percent from the same period last year, but well below the 2000-2006 average monthly ARM share of 49.8 percent.

According to the report, the share of ARMs in more expensive counties such as Orange County in Southern California made up 17.9 percent of March purchase loans. In Santa Clara, which is part of the Silicon Valley ARMs made up 41 percent of total purchase loans.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and editor. A former Online Editor and currently a reporter for MReport, she is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.

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