California home sales see highest gains since 2022, and spring market has just begun – Palo Alto Online

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Houses in a hillside neighborhood in San Mateo County overlook the San Francisco Bay. Photo courtesy Getty Images. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

February homes sales at a glance …

  • Statewide sales jumped 12.8% compared to January
  • New active listings rose more than 10% for the second straight month
  • The statewide median sales price reached $806,490
  • The high-end market segment grew by double digits
  • Santa Clara County’s median sales price reached $1.8 million
  • San Mateo County’s sales volume jumped 56.7% compared to January

California’s February home sales reached levels not seen since September 2022. The monthly sales increase was the second straight month of double-digit gains, and it was also the second straight month of annual gains, according to the California Association of Realtors.

February’s sales pace (290,020 homes) rose 12.8% compared to the previous month of January and 1.3% compared to the same time last year. 

Buy/sell, rent/lease residential &
commercials real estate properties.

The state’s housing supply also continued to improve in February with new active listings rising more than 10% for the second straight month 

“This is great news for buyers who have been competing for a dearth of homes for sale, and the momentum will hopefully build further as we enter the spring homebuying season,” Melanie Barker, president of the California Association of Realtors said. 

The statewide median sales price was up 9.7% from $735,300 in February 2023 to $806,490 this past February, and 2.2% higher than January’s $789,480. The year-over-year gain was the eighth straight month of annual price increases.

The California Association of Realtors reported that sales of homes priced at or above $1 million have been holding up better in the last few months than more affordable options. The high-end market segment continued to grow year-over-year in February by double digits.

Santa Clara and San Mateo counties

Median sales prices

Home sales rose significantly in both San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The median sales prices in both counties are nearly $2 million. 

“We started noticing more activity in our local markets at the start of the year as more listings began showing up, and homes took less time to sell. These are good indicators that market momentum is building,” Eileen Giorgi, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, said.

February sales in Santa Clara County increased 32.8% from February 2023 and increased 25.9% from the previous month of January. The median price rose to $1.8 million, or 20.6% higher than a year ago when the median price was $1.5 million. It also jumped 5.8% compared to January. 

In San Mateo County, February sales were up 22.1% from last year and jumped 56.7% from the previous month of January. The median home price, however, dropped 7.6% to $1.93 million compared to $2.08 million from February 2023 and down 2.7% from $1.97 million during the previous month of January. 

New listings

According to MLSListings, the number of new listings in Santa Clara County for February was up 34% from January and 18% up from the same time last year.  In San Mateo County, the number of new listings for the month of February increased 7% from January, and 17% compared to the same time last year.

Days on market

In San Mateo County, homes stayed on the market a median of 19 days in January. In February, homes stayed just a median of 10 days. The median days on market in Santa Clara County in January was 11 days. This dropped to eight days in February.

“Moreover, homes continue to sell at 105% to 107% of their list price in both counties. I believe more buyers and sellers are optimistic and ready to usher in the spring market,” Giorgi said.

Interest rates

Elliot Eisenberg,  partner economist at MLSListings, said he predicts the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year but perhaps not until June because inflation is still in the 3% range. The Federal Reserve’s target is closer to 2% before they will make interest rate cuts.

“They (the Fed) are willing to be late; they don’t want to be too early,” Eisenberg said. “They don’t want to lower rates and then raise them again. Inflation is their guiding star.” 

Eisenberg said he expects more competition in the housing market in 2024. 

“This year is shaping up to be a transition year where rates are a little too high and inventory is a little too small,” he said. “But it will be better than last year. Rates will come down either way, and 2024 will be better than 2023 on the real estate market side. 

“What buyers should be doing now is looking where they want to buy their house. Find the neighborhood you like, know the price point you want and be prepared to pounce when the house comes on the market, and know you can refinance down the road.”

Silicon Valley Association of Realtors (SILVAR) is a professional trade organization representing 5,000 Realtors and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. SILVAR promotes the highest ethical standards of real estate practice, serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners, and represents the interests of property owners in Silicon Valley.

The term Realtor is a registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and who subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

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