California May Home Sales Dip Year Over Year as Median Price Sets New Record

$1 Million-Plus Sales Hit Record High as Sales of Lower-Priced Homes Fall Sharply

By Andrew LePage Housing Affordability, Real Estate

California May home sales rose from April – a seasonal norm – but fell slightly year over year as the median price paid for a Golden State home climbed to an all-time high of $500,000.

An estimated[1] 44,882 new and existing houses and condos sold statewide in May 2018, up 11.4 percent from 40,287 sales in April 2018 and down 1.1 percent from 45,385 sales in May 2017, CoreLogic public records data show (Figure 1). The average change in sales between April and May since 2000 is an increase of 6.8 percent. May 2018 sales were 9.0 percent below the average number of homes sold in May since 2000.

California Total May Home Sales

The median price paid for all new and existing houses and condos sold across California in May 2018 rose to an all-time high of $500,000, up 3.1 percent from $485,000 in April 2018 and up 8.7 percent from $460,000 in May 2017. The state’s prior record median was $486,500 in May 2007 (Figure 2). Adjusted for inflation, the May 2018 median remained 13.7 percent below its March 2007 peak. 

The state’s median sale price has risen year over year for 75 consecutive months, since March 2012.

In the six-county Southern California[2] region a total of 22,874 new and existing houses and condos sold in May 2018, up 10.2 percent month over month from 20,752 sales in April 2018 and down 3.4 percent year over year from 23,671 sales in May 2017. The May 2018 median sale price rose to an all-time high of $530,000, up 1.9 percent month over month from $520,000 in April 2018, and up 8.2 percent year over year from $490,000 in May 2017. Adjusting for inflation, however, the May 2018 median sale price remained 10.9 percent below its July 2007 peak.

California Median Sale Price

In the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area[3], a total of 8,467 new and existing houses and condos sold in May 2018, up 12.1 percent month over month from 7,555 sales in April 2018 and up 0.8 percent year over year from 8,398 sales in May 2017. The median sale price rose to an all-time high of $875,000 in May 2018, up 2.9 percent month over month from $850,000 in April 2018, and up 15.9 percent year over year from $755,000 in May 2017. The Bay Area’s May 2018 median was an all-time high even after adjusting for inflation.

Statewide sales of high-end homes have risen sharply this year. In May 2018 a record 7,173 homes sold for $1 million or more, up 20.3 percent year over year. During the first five months of this year 26,283 homes sold for $1 million or more (Figure 3), up 22.0 percent year over year and a record for the January-through-May period. Multi-million-dollar home sales have also risen to record levels this year: In May, a record 1,697 homes sold for $2 million or more, up 16.7 percent year over year. During the first five months of this year 6,280 homes sold for $2 million or more, up 22.8 percent year over year and a record for that five-month period. 

California January - April $1 Million Plus and $2 Million Plus Home Sales

Home sales in the more affordable price ranges have fallen significantly on a year-over-year basis because of the effect of home price appreciation and because inventory tends to be especially tight in the lower price ranges. The number of homes that sold statewide in May 2018 for less than $400,000 fell 13.2 percent year over year and fell 12.6 percent during the first five months of this year. Sub-$300,000 sales fell about 16 percent year over year in both May 2018 and during the first five months of this year.    

[1] Because of late data availability, May 2018 sales were not complete in some smaller counties.

[2] Southern California comprises San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

[3] The San Francisco Bay Area comprises Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma counties.

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