California Home Sales Up In December ’11

California home sale last December showed encouriging signs of improvement.

An estimated 37,734 new and resale houses and condos were sold in California in December 2011. That was up 15.5 percent from 32,669 in November, and up 4.2 percent from 36,215 for December 2010. California sales for the month of December have varied from a low of 25,585 in 2007 to a high of 66,503 in 2003, while the average is 44,063.

The median price paid for a home in December was $246,000, up 0.8 percent from $244,000 in November, and down 3.1 percent from $254,000 for December 2010. The median has decreased on a year-over-year basis for the last fifteen months. The bottom of the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009. The peak was $484,000 in early 2007.

Distressed property sales – the combination of foreclosure resales and “short sales” – once again made up more than half of California’s resale market.

Most positive sign for the California real estate market is the drop in foreclosures on the year over year basis. Of the existing homes sold, 34.2 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was up from 32.9 percent in November but down from 38.1 percent a year earlier. The all-time high for foreclosure resales was 58.5 percent in February 2009.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 20.0 percent of resales last month. That was the same as in November but up from 17.8 percent in December 2010. Two years ago short sales made up an estimated 17.0 percent of the resale market.

Data in this article is based on real estate research reported by DataQuick, based in San Diego.

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