Last Friday, the California Association of Realtors released its March sales figures. The CAR reported that overall volume was down, however, prices have shown their first year-over-year increase in 16 months. Similarly, the number of properties sold at foreclosure auction are also down for the second straight month.
These sales, in the past month, reflect resale figures for detached homes of about 505,000 annually, down 4.5 percent from last month and 2.3 percent as compared to a year ago. Statewide median prices, however, jumped 9.5 percent from February’s $266,660 to March’s $291,080, which is up from $286,550 a year ago, reversing a general downward trend.Locally, for Palos Verdes Real Estate, there are 172 single family Palos Verdes homes for sale. 126 Palos Verdes houses are in escrow (67 homes have pending sales and 59 homes are accepting backup offers). Additionally, 16 homes have sold/closed escrow in the first 11 days of March with the average sales price of $1,313,016. Palos Verdes Realtors and agencies throughout the country are using the relatively upbeat forecast to strike preemptively against a Federal Housing Finance Agency’s plan to sell foreclosed homes in bulk to investors. This is to, ostensibly, guard against a glut of bank-owned housing hitting the market and further depressing prices. Last month we addressed the potential threat from a “shadow inventory” of homes either delinquent yet not foreclosed or with mortgage balances far higher than their market values being brought to market. “Housing inventory remains extremely tight throughout the state and at levels severely under normal market conditions,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young in a release from the group. On the foreclosure front, 86,487 sales were scheduled for last month in California, though 80 percent were postponed and 10.6 percent were cancelled, leaving only 8,392 properties that actually went to auction. Of those, a record 38.6 percent were snapped up by third parties, typically cash investors. While foreclosure sales ,were down, new foreclosures were up over 18 percent to total 22,512 statewide last month. This has been an expected consequence of last year’s “robo-signing” scandal, which tied up foreclosure departments at many lenders for months. Presently, average time it takes to reach foreclosure from the day a bank files to begin proceedings was 260 days in Los Angeles County last month, down from 301 days a year ago.
March 2012 Palos Verdes real estate statistics show significant increases both in Palos Verdes homes sold and pending sales compared to February. 51 Palos Verdes houses sold in March compared to 38 homes in February. There was a large increase in March pending sales – 76 homes compared to 54 in February. The number of active Palos Verdes homes for sale in March was just about the same as in February, 180 compared to 179 homes. Curiously, we still have not seen an increase in the number of homes for sale as we go into the Spring selling season. Presently, we are at historic lows for inventory of active Palos Verdes homes for sale. This works to create a more balanced market between buyers and sellers. As you can see from the chart above, we have 36% less inventory in March 2012 compared to March 2011 and and 49% more pending sales March 2012 compared to March 2011 – definitely a tighter market for buyers. This demonstrates the high demand for the Palos Verdes area.In terms of Palos Verdes homes for sale in March, average sales were $1,208,000 compared to $1,043,000 in February (25 out of the 38 homes sold in February were under $1,000,000 – that is 65.8%). Price per square foot for Palos Verdes houses that sold/closed escrow in March was $439 which decreased slightly from $447 in February. Average days on market in March was 111 days which was less than the 155 days in February for properties sold that month. Months of inventory (months it would take to sell existing inventory at the current rate of sale) fell to 3.5 months for March compared to 4.7 months in February. A “normal” market is typically six months of inventory – so we are experiencing better than average conditions in terms of this metric.
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