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California Median Home Prices Increase 23.2% in May, Sales up 1.2%

California Median Home Prices Increase 23.2% in May, Sales up 1.2%

Thumbnail image for golden-gate-bridge-san-francisco-california-keyimage.jpg According to the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), home sales increased 1.2 percent in May in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home rose 23.2 percent.

Quick Facts:

  • Existing, single-family home sales increased 1.2 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted rate of 552,800 units on an annualized basis compared with May 2009.
  • The statewide median price of an existing single-family home increased 23.2 percent in May to $324,430, compared with May 2009.
  • C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index remained unchanged at 4.6 months in May.

"Home sales posted their third largest increase on record for May, due in part to first-time home buyers who timed the open and close of escrow in order to capitalize on both the federal and state tax credits," said C.A.R. President Steve Goddard. "May also marked the fifth month of double-digit gains in the median price, indicative of strong buyer demand relative to the supply of homes for sale. With a 4.6-month supply of homes for sale, unsold inventory continues to be well below the long-run average of seven months, and will continue to drive price appreciation over the next several months."

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 552,800 in May at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local Realtor associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity increased 1.2 percent from the revised 546,490 sales pace recorded in May 2009. Sales in May 2010 increased 14.1 percent compared with the previous month.

Trough vs. Current Price - May 2010


The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2010 would be if sales maintained the May pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during May 2010 was $324,430, a 23.2 percent increase from the revised $263,440 median for May 2009, C.A.R. reported. The May 2010 median price increased 5.9 percent compared with April's $306,230 median price.

Peak vs. Current Price - May 2010


"The number of escrows opened in May fell 16.9 percent compared with April. This was consistent with our expectation that activity may decline once the federal tax credit deadline had passed, "said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "Although there may be a lessening of demand compared with the first half of this year, the number of escrows opened on a year-to-date basis is about the same as last year, and sales for all of 2010 will be on a par or slightly below last year."

Unsold Inventory Index (Months)


Highlights of C.A.R.'s resale housing figures for May 2010:

  • C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in May 2010 was 4.6 months, unchanged from the same period a year ago. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
  • Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.89 percent during May 2010, compared with 4.86 percent in May 2009, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.01 percent in May 2010, compared with 4.75 percent in May 2009.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 39.8 days in May 2010, compared with 52.4 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.
  • Statewide, the 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during May 2010 were: Manhattan Beach, $1,555,000; Los Altos, $1,500,000; Saratoga, $1,435,500; Palo Alto, $1,293,500; Palos Verdes Estates, $1,262,500; Newport Beach, $1,100,000; Los Gatos, $1,087,500; Laguna Beach, $960,000; Mill Valley, $954,500; and Lafayette, $928,500.
  • Statewide, the cities with the greatest median home price increases in May 2010 compared with the same period a year ago were: Richmond, 75 percent; San Juan Capistrano, 58 percent; Newport Beach, 56 percent; Lemon Grove, 53 percent; San Bernardino, 50 percent; Oceanside, 47 percent; West Hollywood, 45 percent; Watsonville, 42 percent; Los Gatos, 41 percent; and Santa Ana, 37 percent.

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