California Home Sales Heat up in July to Eight Year High!

Good news RE professionals — the California housing market roared forward in July as prices rose and sales hit an eight-year high.

An estimated 48,118 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month. That was up 17.3 percent from 41,027 in June, and up 21.8 percent from 39,507 sales in July 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
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Last month’s sales count was the highest for any month since 51,054 homes sold in August 2006. It was the highest for any July since 66,929 homes sold in July 2005. Last month was the first time California sales have been above average for any month since September 2006.

Low mortgage rates, tight inventory and investor demand has helped the housing market recover from last decade’s bust and sent prices rapidly higher this year. The swift increases have raised concerns, though many economists predict they will cool as inventory expands and interest rates rise.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that California buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,457. Adjusted for inflation, last month’s payment was 36.9 percent below the typical payment in spring 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 48.9 percent below the current cycle’s peak in June 2006. It was 58.3 percent above the January 2012 bottom of the current cycle.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $363,000, up 3.1 percent from $352,000 in June and up 29.2 percent from $281,000 in July 2012. July was the 17th consecutive month in which the state’s median sale price rose year-over-year. In March/April/May 2007 the median peaked at $484,000. The post-peak trough was $221,000 in April 2009.

Indicators of market distress continue to decline. Foreclosure activity remains well below year-ago and peak levels reached several years ago. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, while down payment sizes are stable, DataQuick reported.

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