Is the Nation’s Largest Housing Market Nearing a Bottom?

California’s median price for existing homes inched up again in April, marking the second consecutive monthly increase in housing prices, the California Association of Realtors said Thursday.

The state’s median sale price for a single-family home was $256,700 in April, up 1.4% from a median price of $253,040 in March. It was the first back-to-back increase in California’s housing prices in two years – prompting several industry officials to declare that the state’s nosediving trajectory in housing values could be at or near the bottom.

On a Y/Y basis, prices were still weak ; down 36.5% from April 2008. But the association said the second straight month-to-month gain was evidence of market dynamics reaching a certain degree of stabilization. Until now, prices had fallen every single month since August 2007.

April also marked the eighth consecutive month of single-family-home sales above 500,000 units. The inventory of unsold homes continued to shrink, to 4.6 months’ supply from 9.8 months a year ago. “It appears that the median price is now at or near the bottom,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the Realtors’ association, who has previously made more subdued comments. [WSJemphasis added

While no one is pronouncing any imminent turnaround in either the national or California markets, the latest data from the association is certainly a welcome news for the battered housing sector in general.

California’s housing market is being closely watched as a barometer of the economy. It is the nation’s largest.

Image: WSJ

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