April pending home sales in California rose 4.5% from March and 4.1% from April a year earlier, according to the California Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index, released Monday.
Separately, C.A.R.'s April Market Pulse Survey reflected a slowdown in market activity with a decrease in floor calls, open house traffic, and listing appointments/client presentations, which the Realtor group said was likely due to the tight inventory and low affordability conditions constraining the California housing market.
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) increased from 135.9 in April 2015 to 141.6 in April 2016, based on signed contracts. April's annual increase was the strongest thus far this year, and the PHSI is now at its highest level since March 2012.
California pending home sales also rose on a monthly basis more than is typical for April, which average 1.3 percent between 2008 and 2015. The PHSI increased 4.5 % from 135.4 in March. When adjusting pending sales for typical seasonal patterns, pending sales actually increased 9% from March, C.A.R. said. Despite the uptick, inventory concerns remain as statewide listings are 4.2% below where they were a year ago.
Pending sales were up on an annual basis in all major regions of the state, with the Central Valley region's index reaching an all-time high, thanks to its high affordability and ample inventory. The Southern California region also saw a healthy uptick in pending sales from a year ago, driven by double-digit increases in Orange County and Riverside.
For the Bay Area, pending sales were down 5.1% from March and up 1.6% from April 2015. Within the core areas of the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, pending sales rose 9.4% and 15.8%, respectively.
The pending sales index in Central Valley posted an increase of 35.3% from March and 2% from April 2015.
Pending home sales in Southern California were down 5.5% from March but rose 4.8% from a year earlier. Los Angeles County posted an annual gain of 3.4%, while Orange County experienced a robust 10.3% gain.
In a separate report, California REALTORS® responding to C.A.R.'s April Market Pulse Survey saw a decrease in floor calls, open house traffic, and listing appointments/client presentations, likely due to the tight inventory and low affordability conditions constraining the California housing market. Floor calls and listing appointments both reversed three months' growth in April. Open house traffic declined also but has been in positive territory since the beginning of the year.
- The share of homes selling above asking price in April shrank for the first time since December 2015, slipping to 32% from 34% in March and 36% in April 2015. Conversely, the share of properties selling below asking price rose for the first time in four months to 40%. The remainder (28%) sold at asking price.
- For the homes that sold above asking price, the premium paid over asking price declined for the second straight month to an average of 9.6%, down from March's 9.8% and 10% in April 2015.
- The 40% of homes that sold below asking price sold for an average of 12% below asking price in April, down from 9.6% in March and 11% a year ago.
- Nearly seven of 10 properties for sale received multiple offers in April, indicating the market remains competitive. 72% of properties received multiple offers in April 2015.
- The average number of offers per property decreased for the first time in three months to 2.9 in April, down from 3.3 in March and 3.6 in April 2015.
- With home prices leveling off in recent months, more sellers are adjusting their listing price to become more in line with buyers' expectations. About one in four (23 percent) of properties had price reductions in April, down from 28% a year ago.
- Low housing inventory continued to be REALTORS®' biggest concerns, cited by one in three (33%), while 16% indicated declining housing affordability, and 14% stated over-inflated home prices.
- REALTORS(r) remained somewhat optimistic about market conditions over the next year, with the index increasing slightly from 60 in March to 61 in April. However, optimism is waning as the index is down from 73 a year ago, indicating fewer REALTOR(r) respondents are positive about the market.