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The lowest mortgage interest rates in nearly three years helped jump start California’s housing market to post the first year-over-year sales gain and highest sales level in 15 months, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 411,630 units in July, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2019 if sales maintained the July pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
July’s sales figure was up 5.6 percent from the 389,730 level in June and up 1.1 percent from home sales in July 2018 of 407,030.
“Mortgage rates that dipped to the lowest level in nearly three years has helped reduce monthly mortgage payments for the past five consecutive months, giving buyers more purchasing power,” said C.A.R. President Jared Martin. “The boost in demand gave the housing market its first yearly gain since April 2018.”
After setting record prices for the past three months straight, the median price pulled back from June’s $610,720 but still registered higher than the previous year. July’s median price was $607,990, down 0.4 percent from June and up 2.8 percent from $591,230 in July 2018, marking the fourth straight month that the median price remained above $600,000.
“While it’s encouraging that home sales crept higher in July, the market will continue to be challenged by an overarching affordability issue, especially in high cost areas such as the Bay Area, which requires a minimum annual income well into the six figures to purchase a home,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.