California home sales have fallen to the lowest level in more than 10 years, according to data recently released by the California Association of Realtors. However, Michelle Rowland, a broker manager at Eureka-based MikkiMoves, said the local market tends to be a bit more fair.
“We’re a lot more stable,” she said. “We don’t see the great increases … but of course it’s cyclical.”
The report states that “January marked the ninth consecutive month of decline and the sixth month in a row that sales were below 400,000, dipping to the lowest level since April 2008.” Of the 51 counties reported by C.A.R., “40 of them posted a sales decline in January with an average year-over-year sales decline of nearly 19 percent.”
Humboldt County however, saw a minor drop in sales by just over two percent from this time last year.
“That shows the stability of market here,” Rowland said.
In terms of home prices, the statewide median fell 3.4 percent from December to $538,690. But, compared to last year, the figure represents a 2.1 percent increase from January 2018. In the report, C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young said the federal government shutdown was expected to “interrupt closings because of a delay in loan approvals and income verifications,” but the impact on home sales in January was minimal.
“The decline in sales was more indicative of demand-side issues and was broad and across all price categories and regions of the state,” Appleton-Young said. “Moreover, growing inventory over the past few months has not translated into more sales.”
Conversely, Humboldt County’s median home sales price has increased by about 20 percent to $325,000.
“Inventory’s been on the lower side,” Rowland said, noting the limited selection of houses is likely driving the price of homes higher.
The statewide Unsold Inventory Index, which projects how long it would take to sell all the houses on the market (assuming no more are listed) if sales maintained their current pace, rose from 3.5 months in December to 4.6 months in January, the report states. The median number of days it took to sell a home also increased by 10 days compared to last year, reaching 37 days in January 2019.
Humboldt County’s median number of days on the market also bucks the statewide trend. Rowland said the median number of days a home stayed on the market in Humboldt County has steadily decreased from over 70 days in December 2018 to 58 days in January 2019.
“It feels like it’s a little busier for this time of year than we typically see,” Rowland said. “If you’re a seller, the time is now; get your property on the market before inventory is flooded.”
As late April and early May approach, Rowland expects the number of houses on the market to increase, meaning that prospective sellers will likely find themselves pricing homes competitively. For those looking to buy a home, Rowland recommends a dash of patience.
“Interest rates are low and they’re not expected to increase,” she said. “If you can, maybe wait a few months.”
Philip Santos can be reached at 707-441-0506.