Redfin: Home Sales Surge in Florida as California Markets See Double-Digit Annual Declines

MBA NewsLink Staff

April 23, 2019

Redfin, Seattle, reported U.S. home sale prices as essentially flat in March, ticking down by just 0.1 percent annually to a median of $295,100, the first year-over-year price decrease on record since February 2012, when the median home sale price bottomed out at $171,600.

Nine of the 85 largest metro areas Redfin tracks saw a year-over-year decline in their median price, including a 13 percent drop in San Jose and a 1 percent dip in San Francisco. These and other expensive West Coast markets, including Los Angeles, Orange County and Seattle, posted double-digit year-over-year declines in the number of homes sold while several large affordable markets on the East Coast saw big annual sales gains.

Redfin said as housing market activity shifted from more to less expensive places, the national median price shifted to reflect the homes that sold last month.

"Homebuyers have backed off in West Coast metros where home prices have risen far out of their budgets," said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. "The opposite is happening in more affordable metros where buyers are eager to buy now to take advantage of low mortgage rates. In California, where the tax burden is high, some people are finding they have to move out of state to afford to buy a home. As a result, home sales are down in metros throughout the state."

The report said though home sales increased by 2 percent overall, variations were wide among metro areas. Homes sold fell in 37 of the 85 largest metro areas that Redfin tracks, while 24 metro areas saw double-digit increases in home sales compared to a year earlier. On average, the metro areas that saw the biggest declines in home sales were more than 2.5 times as expensive as the metro areas where sales surged. The cheapest of the 10 metro areas where sales declined (Fresno, $275,000) was still more expensive than eight of the top 10 metros where sales surged.

"Salt Lake City and Las Vegas experienced rapid home price growth in 2017 and 2018," Fairweather said. "Even though these metros are still affordable to Californians, home sales are likely down because it has become harder for locals to afford to buy homes."

Redfin reported homes for sale at the end of the month rose by 3.6 percent from a year earlier in March. The number of homes newly listed for sale fell 2.8 percent from a year ago. Home-selling speeds were largely unchanged from a year earlier nationally, increasing just one day to a median of 49 days on market.

The report said 20 percent of homes sold above the list price in March, down from 24.5 percent a year ago. Meanwhile 22.5 percent of homes on the market in March had a price drop, up from March 2018's share of 20.2 percent.

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