California home sales rise in September

California home sales rose for the first time in a year in September, a research firm said Tuesday, as cooling prices and a strong economy encouraged buyers.

The median sales price for new and existing houses and condominiums was $389,000 last month, down 1 percent from $393,000 in August but up 9.6 percent from $355,000 the same period a year earlier, CoreLogic DataQuick said. It was the 31st straight month of annual increases but only the third straight month that percentage gains were not double-digit.

There were 36,316 homes sold in the state, up 0.8 percent from 36,027 sales a year earlier. It was the first annual sales increase since September 2013 and the strongest September in five years.

A rally of the housing market sparked about three years ago by cash-paying investors has given way to more traditional buyers looking for places to live, said Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles research firm. Buyers are motivated by rising personal incomes, confidence about their jobs and increasing home equity.

“A more normal housing market is starting to form,” Thornberg said. “There's a whole second wave in housing that is really just now emerging having to do with the retail buyer.”

Jeff Campbell, a San Diego real estate broker, said waning interest from investors is translating into fewer bidding wars. Cash-buying investors typically withdraw if their first offer is rejected.

“They're pulling out a lot earlier, and those who need the home to house their families are staying in,” Campbell said.

In Southern California, the median sales price was $413,000, down 1.7 percent from an 80-month high of $420,000 in August but up 8.1 percent from $382,000 a year earlier, CoreLogic DataQuick said. The Irvine-based firm said it was the first month in more than two years that none of the six counties surveyed posted double-digit annual percentage gains.

There were 19,348 homes sold in the Southern California region, up 1.2 percent 19,112 sales in September 2013.

The San Francisco Bay area's median sales price was $604,000, down 0.5 percent from $607,000 in August but up 14 percent from $530,000 in September 2013. The median price in the city of San Francisco was $938,000, down from $1 million in June.

There were 7,443 homes sold in the nine-county Bay area last month, up 4.2 percent from 7,141 sales a year earlier.

Absentee buyers — mostly investors and second-home purchasers — bought 23.3 percent of Southern California homes in September, down from 27 percent a year earlier to its lowest level since October 2010, according to CoreLogic DataQuick. Absentee buyers accounted for 19.1 percent of sales in the Bay area, down from 20.9 percent a year earlier.

businessBusiness & Real EstateHome sales

Just Posted

A large crack winds its way up a sidewalk along China Basin Street in Mission Bay on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s sinking sidewalks: Is climate change to blame?

‘In the last couple months, it’s been a noticeable change’

For years, Facebook employees have identified serious harms and proposed potential fixes. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have rejected the remedies, causing whisteblowers to multiple. (Eric Thayer/The New York Times)
Facebook’s problems at the top: Social media giant is not listening to whistleblowers

Whistleblowers multiply, but Zuckerberg and Sandberg don’t heed their warnings

Maria Jimenez swabs her 7-year-old daughter Glendy Perez for a COVID-19 test at Canal Alliance in San Rafael on Sept. 25. (Penni Gladstone/CalMatters)
Rapid COVID-19 tests in short supply in California

‘The U.S. gets a D- when it comes to testing’

Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo led a late-game comeback against the Packers, but San Francisco lost, 30-28, on a late field goal. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)
The Packers beat the Niners in a heartbreaker: Don’t panic

San Francisco is no better and no worse than you thought they were.

A new ruling will thwart the growth of solar installation companies like Luminalt, which was founded in an Outer Sunset garage and is majority woman owned. (Philip Cheung, New York Times)
A threat to California’s solar future and diverse employment pathways

A new ruling creates barriers to entering the clean energy workforce

Most Read