Spring has barely sprung, but it appears we’re already in the thick of a frenzied spring home buying season. Depending on who you’re listening to, San Diego County’s housing market seems to be off to a blooming start. Industry sources confirm the market is growing and getting stronger. Low inventory continues to be a significant problem, as well as high prices are keeping waves of buyers at bay. However, thanks to uncommonly low interest rates, mortgage payments have remained pretty reasonable even in the face of increasing purchase prices.
Among the latest housing market headlines:
— According to the University of San Diego Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, the local economy is picking up steam and is expected to do better than what had previously been expected. The Center’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators is now forecasting employment growth at 30,000 new jobs in 2017, compared with a previous forecast of 25,000 jobs announced at the end of 2016. Analysts say the economy is growing because of improved local labor conditions, rising prices of local stocks and stronger measures of U.S. consumer confidence due to President Trump’s business-friendly policies.
— According to www.Realtor.com, the National Association of REALTORS® official website, San Diego was the 8th “hottest” real estate market in March with the typical home taking just 38 days to sell. California led the United States with six of the top 10 real estate markets. Nationwide a home is typically on the market for 69 days, eight days less than this time last year. It’s much less in California, however, with homes in booming Silicon Valley homes typically selling after just 25 days.
— According to the latest housing market report from the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.), the median number of days it took to sell a single-family home dropped from 37.4 days in January to 33.4 days in February and was down from 41.5 days in February 2016.
— According to CoreLogic, an Irvine-based real estate data and analytics information service, the median sales price of a home in San Diego County jumped by 8.1 percent in February, compared with the same month a year earlier, while the number of homes sold fell by 1.6 percent. The median price of a San Diego County home was $492,000 in February, up from $455,000 in February 2016. In Southern California, the median price of a home was $460,000 in February, up 1.1 percent from the month before and up 7 percent from the same period last year.
— Also according to C.A.R., existing single-family home sales totaled 400,500 in February on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 4.7 percent from January and up 4.9 percent from February 2016. February’s statewide median home price was $478,790, down 2.2 percent from January and up 7.6 percent from February 2016.
Also, closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California remained above the 400,000 benchmark for the 11th consecutive month and totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 400,500 units in February, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2017 if sales maintained the February pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
Finally, C.A.R. said 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. The homes that sold above asking price, the premium paid over asking price edged up to 12 percent, up from 11 percent a year ago.
“While it’s encouraging to kick off the year with back-to-back yearly sales increases, moving forward, California’s housing market could lose steam in the long term as the Fed begins to adjust the federal funds rate,” said C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh. “In the short term, however, the specter of higher interest rates may push buyers off the fence to purchase a home before mortgage rates move even higher.”