Here are a half-dozen things you should know about California’s housing market as the second half of 2016 starts …
No. 1: Prices are still rising
The median selling price of a California home hit a nine-year high at $441,250, up 6.3 percent in a year, according to Property Radar. Gains are fairly widespread with prices in 18 of California’s 26 largest counties reaching similar heights. And for those who like pricey: San Mateo County hit $1.27 million, the highest median of any county in Property Radar records that date to 2001.
No. 2: Many buyers are still paying up
In June, 35 percent of sales sold at prices above the sellers’ asking price, says the California Association of Realtors. Those premium payments are down from May’s record 38 percent but above 33 percent in June 2015. That’s probably because 72 percent of the homes sold in June drew multiple offers in June vs. 65 percent a year earlier.
No. 3: Sales were down
Prices too high? The 41,291 California single-family homes and condominiums sold in June were down 4.5 percent in a year, Property Radar says. Year-to-date, sales are off 2.8 percent. Is it a shortage of shopper choices or are house hunters antsy about the economy?
No. 4: Even cash buyers are slowing down
Property Radar reports no-mortgage purchases were 19.7 percent of all June sales, but these all-cash deals were down 7.8 percent from June 2015. Purchases by shell companies, often investors using cash to buy, were down 2 percent from a year ago.
No. 5: All said, relatively solid
Freddie Mac has a curious index, the Mimi, that translates current real estate trends into a historical perspective measure where 100 equals “normal” and markets can be cool (well below) or overheated (well above.) For May, California’s Mimi was 94, 3 percent better than a year earlier and “in range and improving.”
No. 6: The outlook is brighter
Look for higher levels of activity this summer. California Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index for June was up 3.2 percent for the 12 months ended in June. This benchmark, based on signed deals going into escrow, is a good barometer of future closings.