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California pending home sales dip slightly in January; Southern California market continues to outshine other regions

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 24) – Following relatively strong closed escrow home sales over the past few months, California pending home sales slipped negligibly from a year ago, which suggests a softening in the housing market in the upcoming months, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.

Reflecting a seasonal pattern, REALTORS® responding to C.A.R.’s January Market Pulse Survey** saw a bounceback in floor calls, listing appointments, and open house traffic from December.

Pending home sales data:

• Based on signed contracts, statewide pending home sales decreased in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* slipping 0.2 percent from 107.4 from January 2016 to 107.2 in January 2017. On a monthly basis, California pending home sales were down 9.2 percent from the December index of 118.0.

• Only the Southern California region posted a year-over-year improvement in pending sales last month, rising 8.1 percent from January 2016 and increasing 10.5 percent on a monthly basis. Riverside County led the region in pending sales, posting a 16.2 percent increase from a year ago. Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties also posted modest year-over-year increases of 7.1 percent, 8.0, and 4.0 percent, respectively. San Bernardino County was the only area within Southern California that saw pending sales lower on an annual basis by 2.8 percent.

• For the San Francisco Bay Area as a whole, tight housing supplies and low affordability contributed to a fall in pending sales of 9.7 percent compared to January 2016. Only San Mateo County posted an annual increase, rising 5.3 percent from January 2016 after posting a significant double-digit annual decline (35.3 percent) in December. Pending home sales decreased 21.2 percent in San Francisco County, 7.1 percent in Santa Clara County, 24.9 percent in Monterey, and 4.8 percent in Santa Cruz County. A shortage of homes on the market and poor affordability will likely persist throughout the year, and impact Bay Area home sales.

• Pending sales in the Central Valley fell 7.9 percent from January 2016 and were up 2.2 percent from December. Within Central Valley, pending sales were down 14.6 percent in Kern County and 11.8 percent in Sacramento compared with a year ago.

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