March 22, 2017
California pending home sales dial back, marking weakest February in three years
LOS ANGELES (March 22) – After a solid start to the year in closed escrow sales, low housing inventory, eroding affordability, and rising interest rates mildly pulled back pending sales on a year-over-year basis in February, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.
In line with seasonal patterns, REALTORS® responding to C.A.R.’s February Market Pulse Survey** saw elevated market activity, with an increase in floor calls, presentations, and open house traffic for the second month in a row.
Pending home sales data:
- Based on signed contracts, statewide pending home sales decreased in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* declining 2.6 percent from 113.5 in February 2016 to 110.6 in February 2017, marking the weakest February in three years. On a monthly basis, California pending home sales were up 3.2 percent from the January index of 107.2.
- After leading the state for the past year, non-seasonally adjusted pending home sales in the Southern California region decreased for the first time in nearly a year, slipping 2.8 percent from 97.9 in February 2016 to 95.2 in February 2017. The year-over-year decline was driven by a decrease in pending sales of 2.6 percent in Riverside County, 5.1 percent in San Diego County, 6 percent in Orange County, and 12.2 percent in San Bernardino County. Only Los Angeles County posted a year-over-year improvement in pending sales, but only by a paltry 0.9 percent.
- For the San Francisco Bay Area as a whole – which has been plagued by a shortage of homes on the market and poor affordability – non-seasonally adjusted pending sales were down year-to-year for the fifth straight month, with every tracked county in the region experiencing a drop in pending sales activity. The Bay Area pending sales index fell 10 percent from 145.2 in February 2016 to 130.6 in February 2017. Santa Cruz and San Francisco counties experienced the largest year-to-year reductions in pending sales of 40.6 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Pending home sales fell 9.2 percent from the previous year in San Mateo County, 7.5 percent in Santa Cruz, and 5.6 percent in Monterey.
- Pending sales in the Central Valley Region fell 11.4 percent from 86.2 in February 2016 to 76.3 in February 2017. Within Central Valley, pending sales were down 1.6 percent in Kern County and 19.4 percent in Sacramento compared with a year ago.
* Seasonally adjusted
February REALTOR® Market Pulse Survey**:
While pending sales were lower in February, California REALTORS® responding to C.A.R.’s February Market Pulse Survey expect improved market conditions in the near term, as they reported an increase in floor calls, listing appointments, and open house traffic, as well as an increase in multiple offers.
- The share of homes selling above asking price dipped from 31 percent a year ago to 30 percent in February. Conversely, the share of properties selling below asking price increased to 37 percent from 35 percent in February 2016. The remaining 34 percent sold at asking price, down from 35 percent in February 2016.• For homes that sold above asking price, the premium paid over asking price edged up to 12 percent, up from 11 percent a year ago.• The 38 percent of homes that sold below asking price sold for an average of 14 percent below asking price in February, compared to 13 percent a year ago.• Nearly three-fourths of properties for sale (71 percent) received multiple offers in February, down from 75 percent in February 2016.• The share of properties receiving three or more offers in February was 47 percent, compared to 48 percent a year ago.• The share of homes priced $500,000 to $749,000 posted the largest gain in receiving three or more offers, rising from 9 percent in February 2016 to 12 percent in February 2017.• As prices fell more in line with the market, listing price reductions declined to 22 percent in February, down from 26 percent in February 2016.
- • Rising for the sixth straight month, a lack of available inventory was the top concern for 40 percent of REALTORS®, the highest level in a year. Eroding housing affordability/high interest rates concerned 32 percent of REALTORS®. Inflated home prices/housing bubble was cited by 14 percent of REALTORS®. A slowdown in economic growth, lending and financing, and policy and regulations rounded out REALTORS®’ remaining biggest concerns.• REALTORS®’ expectation of market conditions over the next year edged up in February to an index of 68, up from an index of 64 a year ago.
- Note: C.A.R.’s pending sales information is generated from a survey of more than 70 associations of REALTORS® and MLSs throughout the state. Pending home sales are forward-looking indicators of future home sales activity, offering solid information on future changes in the direction of the market. A sale is listed as pending after a seller has accepted a sales contract on a property. The majority of pending home sales usually become closed sales transactions one to two months later. The year 2008 was used as the benchmark for the Pending Homes Sales Index. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2008.
- **C.A.R.’s Market Pulse Survey is a monthly online survey sent to more than 10,000 California REALTORS® to measure data about their last closed transaction and sentiment about business activity in their market area for the previous month. Approximately 300 REALTORS® responded.
- Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than 185,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
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