CAR on California December Housing: Sales up 28% YoY, Active Listings down 47% YoY

The CAR reported: California housing market ends year on high note as sales continue strong in December and median price reaches another record high, C.A.R. reports

Despite a global pandemic that lingered most of the year, two lockdowns and a struggling economy, California’s housing market closed out 2020 on a high note, recording solid sales and a fifth record-high median price in December, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 509,750 units in December, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2020 if sales maintained the December pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

December home sales ticked up 0.2 percent from 508,820 in November and were up 28 percent from a year ago, when 398,370 homes were sold on an annualized basis. The year-over-year, double-digit sales gain was the fifth consecutive and the largest yearly gain since May 2009. For the year as a whole, annual home sales rose to a preliminary 411,870 closed escrow sales in California, up 3.5 percent from 2019’s pace of 397,960.

“Home prices, which usually peak during the summer, were unseasonably strong in December,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Jordan Levine. “The imbalance between supply and demand continues to fuel home price gains as would-be home sellers remain reluctant to list their homes during the pandemic, contributing to a more-than-40-percent year-over-year decline in active listings for the seventh straight month.”

Active listings fell 47.1 percent from last year and continued to drop more than 40 percent on a year-over-year basis for the seventh straight month. On a month-to-month basis, for-sale properties dropped 18.6 percent in December, higher than the 5-year average of -14.0 percent, observed between 2015 and 2019.
emphasis added

CR Note: Existing home sales are reported when the transaction closes, so this was mostly for contracts signed in October and November.