California Home Sales Shrink For Fourth Consecutive Month

Despite National Woes, Bay Area Housing Prices Hit New Highs

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - California pending home sales shrank for the fourth consecutive month in October to post the lowest level in six months, the California Association of Realtors said today.

Even with the homebuying season winding down, Realtors reported slight increases in floor calls, open house traffic, and listing appointments/client presentations compared with a year ago, according to CAR's October Market Pulse Survey.

CAR's Market Pulse Survey is a monthly online survey sent to more than 10,000 California Realtors to measure data about their last closed transaction and sentiment about business activity in their market area for the previous month. Nearly 300 Realtors responded.

Based on signed contracts, year-over-year statewide pending home sales dropped in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, with the Pending Home Sales Index declining 2.6 percent from 119.1 in October 2016 to 116.0 in October 2017. California pending home sales were also down on a monthly basis, decreasing 3.3 percent from the September index of 120.0.

Pending home sales have declined on an annual basis for nine of the last 10 months so far this year, CAR reported. After a solid run-up of closed sales in May, June, and September, continued scarcity of housing inventory, which drove up home prices, may squeeze the market heading into the closing months of the year.

Pending home sales were down 7.3 percent from October 2016 in Southern California. Los Angeles and Orange counties registered lower annual pending sales of 4.7 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. Double-digit, annual pending sales drops occurred in Riverside (14.0 percent), San Diego (11.4 percent), and San Bernardino (10.4 percent) counties.

The share of homes selling above asking price fell from 28 percent a year ago to 23 percent in October, while the share of properties selling below asking price inched up from 44 percent to 46 percent, according to CAR. The remaining 30 percent sold at asking price, up from 28 percent in October 2016. For homes that sold above asking price, the premium paid over asking price dipped from 9 percent in October 2016 to 8 percent in October 2017.

The 28 percent of homes that sold below asking price sold for an average of 12 percent below asking price in October compared to 9 percent a year ago.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of properties sold in October received multiple offers, and the number of offers received was up slightly at 2.6 offers in October 2017 compared to 2.3 offers a year ago, CAR said.

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