An estimated 34,949 new and resale houses and condos sold in California during the month of December. That was up 4.5 percent from 33,429 in November, and down 12.1 percent from 39,760 sales in December 2012, according to Orange County real estate data provider DataQuick.
December sales have varied from a low of 25,585 in 2007 to a high of 66,503 in 2003. Last month's sales hit a 5-year low being the lowest for a December since 2007 and were nearly 20 percent below the average of 43,547 sales for all the months of December since 1988 (this is when DataQuick began keeping these statistics). A stunning statistic was that California sales haven’t been above average for any particular month in more than seven years.
The median price paid for a home in California last month was $365,000, up 1.4 percent from $360,000 in November and up 22.1 percent from $299,000 in December 2012. Last month was the 22nd consecutive month in which the state's median sale price rose year-over-year, and the 13th straight month with a gain exceeding 20 percent.
In March/April/May 2007 the median peaked at $484,000. The post-peak trough was $221,000 in April 2009.
Of the existing homes sold last month, 6.7 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was down from 6.8 percent in November and down from 15.8 percent a year earlier. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.8 percent in February 2009.
Short sales - transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property - made up an estimated 15.5 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was up from an estimated 12.5 percent the month before and down from 26.7 percent a year earlier.
The typical monthly mortgage payment that California buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,473, up slightly from $1,418 the month before and up dramatically from $1,054 a year earlier. C.E.O. Greg Steinaker attributed this to higher interest rates due to Fed tightening. Adjusted for inflation, last month's payment was 36.3 percent below the typical payment in spring 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 48.4 percent below the current cycle's peak in June 2006. It was 59.8 percent above the February 2012 bottom of the current cycle.
Indicators of market distress continue to decline. Foreclosure activity remains well below year-ago and peak levels reached in the last five years. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, while down payment sizes are stable, DataQuick reported.
BanCorp thanks DataQuick for these dependable housing market statistics