California Home Sales Predicted to Continue Gradual Climb in 2013, State Realtors Group Says



Home sales in California are expected to continue their ascent into 2013, according to the California Association of Realtors.

The increase from 2011 to 2012 is expected to be 5.1 percent. The state association expects sales to jump about 1.3 percent in 2013 to approach 530,000 units. Some 523,300 units are projected to be sold by the end of this year.

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The California median home price is expected to go about about 5.7 percent to $335,000 in 2013. The jump from 2011 to 2012 is projected to be 10.9 percent.

“The housing market momentum which began earlier this year will continue into 2013,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.  “Pent-up demand from first-time buyers will compete with investors and all-cash offers on lower-priced properties, while multiple offers and aggressive bidding will continue to be the norm in mid- to upper-price range homes.”

“The actions of underwater homeowners will play an important role in housing inventory next year, with rising home prices inducing some to stay put and others to list and move forward,” she said.

Despite the overall outlook for the state, some regions are being hit with low inventory.

“The market has improved moderately over the past year, and we expect that to continue into 2013,” said C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold.  “Sales would be even higher if inventory were less constrained in REO-dominated markets, particularly in the Central Valley and Inland Empire, where there is an extreme shortage of available homes.  Sales will be stronger in higher-priced areas, where there are more equity properties and a somewhat greater availability of homes for sale.”

Another study echoes the fact that some regions of the state aren’t seeing any signs of improvement.

Fiserv, a real estate data company that recently evaluated 384 of the largest housing markets, found that several Central Valley markets aren’t showing signs of recovery because of high unemployment and foreclosure rates.

In fact, the top three markets are in California:

  • Merced. This Central Valley city experienced a 69.7 percent decrease from the peak to the first quarter of 2012.
  • Modesto. A 64 percent decrease over the same time period.
  • Stockton. This city saw a 62.8 percent drop during the period.

Other markets that saw decreases more than 50 percent are Vallejo-Fairfield, Bakersfield-Delano, and Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario.

Michele Dawson is a freelance writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. She spent seven years as a newspaper reporter and has written for various magazines and web sites specializing in real estate and home improvement, including Realty Times, SmartHomeowner, California Builder, and the Sacramento Business Journal.