Home prices across California fall 18% in 10 months

Median price in February fell to $735K, while sales rise for three months straight

House; graph lines
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Home prices across the state have fallen 18 percent from their all-time high, but the number of sales has ticked up for the past three months.

The median home price in California fell to $735,480 in February, down from a high of $900,000 last May, the Orange County Register reported, citing data from the California Association of Realtors.

The statewide median fell 2.1 percent from the previous month, while prices have dipped in eight out of the last nine months. The median was down 4.8 percent in a year to the lowest level since $699,000 in February 2021.

At the same time Californians bought 284,010 homes in February, up 17.6 percent compared to January. It was the third monthly gain in sales.

The caveat, according to the Register: Sales were off 33 percent in a year, the 20th-consecutive year-over-year sales decline. It was the third-slowest-selling February and the 27th-slowest month for sales overall since 1990.

“A brief interest rate reprieve and softer home prices during January created a window of opportunity for homebuyers to dip their toes into the home-buying waters, which helped boost home sales to the highest level in five months,” Jennifer Branchini, president of the state Realtors’ association and a broker in the Bay Area, said.

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“The recent failure of a handful of tech-focused banks caused an unexpected drop in interest rates, which could offer an opportunity in the near term for homebuyers who have been waiting on the sidelines to lock in a lower rate,” said Jordan Levine, the association’s chief economist. “However, any decline in rates is not likely to be sustainable since inflation remains high, and the Federal Reserve is willing to take some calculated risks in order to keep inflation under control.”

The 18 percent drop in home prices from their peak last May varies when compared to a 10-month plunge during two price peaks in 1991 and 2007, according to the Register.

In 1991, prices fell 6 percent in 10 months, with losses that grew to 20 percent over 69 months. In 2007, prices fell 30 percent over the same period, with losses that grew to 59 percent in 21 months.

In Los Angeles County, home sales have fallen more than 35 percent in the last year, according to multiple brokerage reports.

— Dana Bartholomew

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