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Positive Home Sales Growth in California

The much-maligned California housing market received good news Monday, as CoreLogic reported that home sales in July grew from the year prior [1] for the first time in a year. 

CoreLogic states growth was motivated by lower mortgage rates. Home prices across the state were less than 2% above last year, and prices in the Bay Area fell annually for the third-consecutive month. 

The nine-county San Francisco Bay Area saw the purchase of 7,404 new and existing houses and condos, which is a 2.2% year-over-year decline. Median-sales prices, though, fell 4.1%—the largest decline December 2011’s 10.5% drop. 

The report finds that an estimated 42,432 new and existing homes and condos were sold in July, which is a 5.1% increase from June and up 1.8% from July 2018. CoreLogic, however, stated that housing activity usually declines, with the average decline for the two months being 5.3%. 

The number of homes sold in July was the highest for the month since 46,757 homes were sold in July 2015.

While the state’s median home price rose 1.4%, the “typical mortgage payment” fell 7.1% due to a 0.7% decline in mortgage rates over the past year. 

“Many of the buyers whose deals were recorded this July would have signed sales contracts in June or May,” CoreLogic states. “The downward movement of mortgage rates into late summer could lead to a continued strengthening in sales, especially if inventory continues to rise.”

Compared to the year prior, sales of homes prices below $500,000 and more than $1 million declined, but those priced between $500,000 and $1 million rose about 7%. Home sales below $300,000 fell 7.3% annually, while sales under $500,000 decreased 0.8%. 

Sales of $500,000 or more rose 4.4%, $1 million-plus home sales fell 2% and $2 million-plus home sales declined 2.8%. 

Year-to-date, sales of homes priced at more than $1 million and $2 million have been 8.7% and 8.8%, respectively. 

“Stock market volatility has likely played a role in this year’s decline in high-end salesm,” the report states.

The average price paid for new and existing houses sold for the month was $502,000, which is down 1.2% from June’s all-time high of $508,000.