California home sales in April up 15.4% from March, down 2.7% year-over-year to estimated 37,988 units, 13.1% below April average of 43,700 sales since 1988; median home price up 1.9% from previous month and 18.2% year-over-year to US$383,000: DataQuick

SAN DIEGO , May 14, 2014 (press release) – An estimated 37,988 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide in April. That was up 15.4 percent from 32,923 in March, and down 2.7 percent from 39,051 sales in April 2013, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

The month-to-month sales gain was higher than usual. On average, sales have increased 2.9 percent between March and April since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics begin. Sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis for seven consecutive months, but last month’s 2.7 percent dip from a year earlier was the smallest decline in that series.

April sales have varied from a low of 27,625 in 1995 to a high of 71,638 in 2004. Last month's sales were 13.1 percent below the average of 43,700 sales for all the months of April since 1988. California sales haven’t been above average for any particular month in more than eight years.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $383,000, up 1.9 percent from $376,000 in March and up 18.2 percent from $324,000 in April 2013. It was the highest since January 2008, when the median was also $383,000. Last month was the 26th consecutive month in which the state's median sale price rose year-over-year. It was the first time in nearly a year-and-a-half that the median’s year-over-year gain was below 20 percent.

In March/April/May 2007 the median peaked at $484,000. The post-peak trough was $221,000 in April 2009.

Of the existing homes sold last month, 6.7 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was down from a revised 7.2 percent in March and down from 13.5 percent a year earlier. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.8 percent in February 2009.

Short sales - transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property - made up an estimated 5.5 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was down from an estimated 7.0 percent the month before and down from 16.1 percent a year earlier.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that California buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,523, up from $1,496 the month before and up from $1,157 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month's payment was 34.8 percent below the typical payment in spring 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 47.1 percent below the current cycle's peak in June 2006. It was 63.6 percent above the January 2012 bottom of the current cycle.

DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts. DataQuick was acquired in March by Irvine-based property information company CoreLogic.

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

Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com

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