After the typical December slowdown in home sales, January normally signals the start of the home seller horse race. Sellers normally rush to get their homes on the market and sold during the first part of the year. Last month, however, the “and they’re off” mentality didn’t exactly scream Kentucky Derby. In fact, California home sales declined from both the prior month and year in January, according to the California Association of Realtors.
We found it no surprise that the median price also dipped lower, mostly due increased activity in the distressed market. Even with the new HARP re-finance plans, a lot of distressed homes will continue to be clogging the market this year.
For those into the numbers – January’s sales dropped 0.6 percent from December’s 520,940 pace and down 5.7 percent from the revised 548,760 sales pace recorded in January 2011. The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home fell to $268,280 in January, down 6.7 percent from $285,920 in December. The median price also dropped 3.9 percent from the revised $279,220 median price recorded in January 2011.
Home sellers may need thoroughbreds not quarter horses to survive this housing market.