Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California rose to a seasonally adjusted 497,390 units in August, up 8.6% from a revised 457,930 in July, according to information collected by CAR from more than 90 local Realtor associations and MLSs statewide.
August home sales were up 10.2% from the revised 451,520 units sold during the same period a year ago. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2011 if sales maintained the August pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
"August's median price marked the highest since December 2010, signifying that prices may be stabilizing in some market segments, as investors and first-time buyers continue to see value and opportunity in the market," said CAR President Beth L. Peerce.
The August statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California was $297,060, up 1% from a revised $294,050 in July, but down 7.4% from the $320,860 median price recorded for August 2010.
"While the increase in August sales is encouraging, these sales are based on closings that occurred before the debt ceiling debate in early August and subsequent heightened concern about the future direction of the economy," said CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.
"How these events and the impending reduction in the conforming loan limits will impact home sales and prices in the coming months remains to be seen," he added.
Other aspects of CAR's resale housing report for August 2011 include:
* The Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes was 5 months in August, down from 5.5 months in July and down from a revised 5.8 months in August 2010. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
* Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.27% during August 2011, down from 4.43% in August 2010, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 2.93% in July 2011, compared with 3.53% in August 2010.
The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 52.7 days in August 2011, compared with 45.5 days for the same period a year ago.