California home sales were up nearly 20 percent in May compared with the same period a year earlier as the median existing home price plummeted at a record pace, the California Association of Realtors said today.
Existing-single family home sales totaled 423,700 at a seasonally adjusted clip in May, up 18.1 percent from the revised 358,640-unit pace in May 2007.
“Home sales exceeded 400,000 last month for the first time since early 2007. While this is a welcome sign for the market, it was due in part to the large share of distressed homes for sale in many parts of the state,” said CAR President William E. Brown, in a press release.
“Sales also rose above their year ago levels for the second month in a row after 30 consecutive months of year-to-year decreases. The lower prices associated with distressed sales along with favorable interest rates both contributed to higher sales levels.”
The median price of an existing SFR decreased 35.3 percent to $384,840 last month from $594,530 a year ago, a record year-over-year percentage decline, which CAR chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young attributed to the recent surge of short sales and foreclosures.
The May 2008 median home price was also off 4.7 percent from April’s median of $403,870.
Despite the downturn, the cities of Sonoma (61 percent), Cupertino (16.7 percent), and Mill Valley (14.6 percent) realized substantial median price gains from May 2007.
CAR said the existing home supply stood at 8.4 months to clear in May, down from a revised 10.7 month supply in May 2007.
Last month, it took a median 49.7 days to sell a single-family home, down slightly from 50.8 days for the same period a year ago.