The numbers are in from the California Association of Realtors and Humboldt County remains one of the more affordable places to root down in the state.
The countywide median sold price of single-family homes in May was $315,000, reflecting a 3.3% increase from April’s median of $305,000. The data indicate a minor deviation from May 2018 when the median sold price was $314,900.
County home sales are up 11.4% from April and 12.4% from May 2018, following a statewide trend in which sales rose above 400,000 units for the first time in 10 months, according to the C.A.R., with 406,960 units sold in California in May 2019. State home sales showed the smallest decline in 13 months with sales up for those homes in the mid-price range (between $300,000 and $999,000).
Charles McCann, a broker for local real estate agency Community Realty, attributes the county sales bump in this “buying season,” as he calls it, to the weather.
“Part of that increase, at least here locally, is related to the extended rainy season that kind of put things at bay for a while and started picking up steam after the rainy season departed our area,” he said.
Statewide, the median sold price of single-family homes set a record high at $611,190, up 1.4% from the April median of $602,920 and 1.7% from the May 2018 median of $600,860. May’s median is part of a gradual increase in the sold price of single-family homes in California since February 2009, when the median plummeted to $245,230 from a May 2007 peak of $594,530. The May 2019 median price peak, a second in two consecutive months, stems from lower interest rates which boost home sales, according to the C.A.R.
“The lowest interest rates in nearly a year and a half, no doubt, have elevated housing demand as monthly mortgage payments have become more manageable to home buyers in general,” C.A.R. president Jared Martin said in a press release.
Martin noted California’s housing market “remains soft” as home sales lag behind last year’s, showing a 0.6% decrease since May 2018 despite a 2.6% uptick from April 2019.
The C.A.R. report indicates the ratio of sales price-to-list price, or the price for which a home was bought divided by the last price at which it was listed before being sold, is at its highest in the last 10 months as the market moved into the peak of the season. At 99.3% in May 2019, the sale-to-list ratio of existing single-family homes in the state shows homes sold for less than the list price. The ratio reveals a 0.4% increase from April and a drop of 0.7% from the May 2018 ratio of 100%.
The data also note the median price per square feet for single-family homes in California was $292 per square foot in May, up 0.7% from April and 2.1% from May 2018 when the median price per square foot was $286.
The median time on the market in California was 18 days in May, at its lowest in 10 months but up from the median number of 15 days last year.
Active listings, or homes available for sale, grew in all regions despite the state seeing the smallest growth since April 2018 at 7.4%. The upturn of active listings is evident in all price segments save the lowest range ($0 to $299,000).
Mortgage payments in California have declined for three consecutive months with rates reaching the lowest level in 16 months, the report states. The market indicates a 2.4% growth in the share of reduced-price listings across the state even as the median sold price of single-family homes generally increased.
“While lower interest rates have spurred buyer demand in recent months, they also have played a role in ongoing price hikes,” said C.A.R. senior vice president and chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young in a news release. “Buyers could offer higher prices without hurting their bottom lines and maintain the same level of affordability, as rates remain on a downward trend. With mortgage rates expected to stay low in the upcoming months, home prices may inch up further for another month or two before cooling off.”
In Humboldt County, the sold price of single-family homes has remained relatively level over the past 12 months, according to McCann.
“There still seems to be a lot of buying going on,” McCann said of the local real estate scene. “The median number of days on the market for the last 30 days is about 14, which means 50 percent of the properties come off the market in the first 14 days which is good buying pressure.”
For the full C.A.R. report, click here.
Rob Peach can be reached at 707-441-0503.