California home sales fell year over year for the seventh straight month in February, though inventory rose as sellers gear up for the spring homebuying season, according to the California Association of Realtors.
Existing, single-family home sales in the Golden State last month fell 0.7 percent from January and 13.7 percent from a year earlier, to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 361,210. The median sale price in February was $404,250, up 21.3 percent from the same month a year ago. Last month saw the 20th straight month of double-digit price increases.
“The slower sales in February reflects diminished housing affordability after three years of solid price increases and interest rates that are nearly a full percentage point higher than a year ago,” said CAR President Kevin Brown in a statement.
Housing inventory rose to a 4.7 months’ supply in February, up from 4.3 months in January and 3.6 months in February 2013. CAR considers a six- to seven-month supply typical in a normal market.
“Supply conditions in the housing market have shown some improvement since the end of last year, except for the lowest price range where the inventory for distressed properties is depleted. In the midpriced range of $300,000-$750,000, which covers nearly half of all home sales, inventory is up 27 percent, while the supply of high-end homes — properties priced at or above $1 million — also is up 13 percent from a year ago,” said CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young in a statement.
“The improvement in these prime price ranges will benefit trade-up buyers who are expected to dominate the market in 2014, as many of them will be searching for homes in these price categories.”
It took a median 40 days to sell a single-family home last month, up from 34.3 days in February 2013.