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CAR: Prices dip, sales slow in September

CAR: Prices dip, sales slow in September

By Ron Trujillo /

California’s red-hot housing market may be cooling off, as summer gives way to fall and the already slim inventory gets even tighter.

September home sales inched up 2.2% from August to 436,920 homes on a seasonally adjusted basis, the 18th-consecutive month above the 400,000 benchmark, according to the California Association of Realtors. September sales were up a modest 1.7% compared to a year ago.

Home sales have increased 2.6% for the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period a year ago, but the gains have been sliding during the past several months.

Geoff McIntosh

“While it’s encouraging that statewide home sales improved both monthly and annually, the year-over-year sales rate is losing steam, reflecting the persistent shortages of homes for sale and an easing of concern over a surge in mortgage rates,” says CAR president Geoff McIntosh. “Additionally for the areas that have been affected by the recent wildfires, we anticipate sales will pull back in those regions as damages are assessed and replacement efforts are coordinated.”

The median-home price dipped 1.8% to $555,410 in September compared to August, when home prices reached the highest level in a decade. But home prices were up 7.5% in September from a year ago, and remained above the $500,000 level for the seventh-consecutive month.

“The statewide median home price rose at the fastest annual pace since February 2017, as the housing supply continued to dictate the market, taking a toll on home sales and affordability,” says Leslie Appleton-Young, senior vice president and chief economist for CAR. “The tight inventory situation is particularly acute in the Bay Area region, which saw double-digit price increases in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, while sales fell markedly from the previous year in six of the nine Bay Area counties.”

Leslie Appleton-Young

CAR’s unsold inventory index – how many months to sell the supply of homes on the market – fell to 3.2 months in September compared to 3.5 months a year ago, though slightly better than the 2.9 months in August.

The Bay Area is the priciest market in the state, with four counties above the $1 million mark, with San Mateo County topping the list at $1.4 million.

Lassen County was the most affordable market at $145,000 – or less than one-third the median-home price in the state.

You can check county-by-county sales and prices on the CAR website.

San Francisco

$1.35 million, up 10.8% from a year ago; sales flat at 0%


Orange County

$799,000, up 8.1%; sales up 4.1%

San Diego

$605,000, up 6.3%; sales down 4.3%

Los Angeles

$606,110, up 10.1%; sales down 4.1%


$260,000, up 8.3%; sales down 0.4%

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