Pending home sales numbers drop again, worrying California market analysts.

By Rose Meily |
Published: June 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm
Updated: June 9, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Consistent with the slowdown in April’s closed home sales, low housing inventory and eroding affordability suppressed pending home sales for the fourth straight month, the California Association of Realtors has announced. The state Realtor group’s April Market Pulse Survey shows mixed results, with Realtors reporting an increase in floor calls and less open house traffic for the fourth straight month.

Based on signed contracts, year-over-year statewide pending home sales declined in April with C.A.R.’s pending home sales index dropping 7.4 percent from 122.8 in April 2016 to 113.7 in April 2017. On a monthly basis, California pending home sales increased 5.9 percent from the March index of 107.4. The April year-over-year pending sales decline is the largest since July 2014, when sales decreased 9.1 percent from the previous year.

“The continuation of year over year pending sales declines shows that our typically busy spring home buying season may underperform, primarily due to demand outstripping the supply of homes for sale,” observed Denise Welsh, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors.

The San Francisco Bay Area bore the brunt of the slowdown. On a year over year basis, pending sales in April were 17.1 percent below where they were in April 2016. San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara all posted double-digit declines in pending sales (down 16.1 percent, 12.2 percent, 14.6 percent, respectively). The inventories in these counties remained between 1.8 and 2 months of supply with median prices of more than $1 million.

“With demand still strong and inventories tightening further, we expect price pressure will get more intense over the next six months increasing more through the fall,” added Welsh.

California Realtors responding to C.A.R.’s April Market Pulse Survey experienced less open house traffic, fewer multiple offers, more price reductions, and no change in listing appointment activity compared with March. The survey found the share of homes selling above asking price dipped from 32 percent a year ago to 31 percent in April. The share of properties selling below asking price slipped to 38 percent from 40 percent in April 2016.

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