Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Tight inventories and lending may curb 2013 California home sales

CAR: Housing wildcards include underwater homeowners, 'fiscal cliff'

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California home sales and prices will likely rise this year and in 2013, though low inventory and restricted lending will continue to curb housing market growth, according to a forecast from the California Association of Realtors. Sales of existing, single-family homes are up 6.5 percent through August compared to the same period last year. After a slight 1.1 percent increase in 2011, CAR expects sales to jump for the second year in a row this year to 530,300 homes, up 5.1 percent from 2011. CAR anticipates a further 1.3 percent increase in 2013, to 530,000 homes. "The market has improved moderately over the past year, and we expect that to continue into 2013," said CAR President LeFrancis Arnold in a statement. Arnold said sales would be even higher if inventory were less constrained in markets dominated by sales of bank-owned properties, particularly in the Central Valley and Inland Empire, "where there is an extreme shortage of available homes. Sales will be stronger in hi...