California single-family detached home sales fell 0.1% to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 396,760 units in April, according to information collected by the California Association of Realtors. The rate was off 4.8% from a year earlier.

Sales remained below the 400,000 level for the ninth consecutive month and have fallen on a year-over-year basis for a full year.

"Weak buyer demand, largely prompted by elevated home prices, is playing a role in the softening housing market," said C.A.R. President Jared Martin. "However, with low interest rates, cooling competition and an increase in homes to choose from, buyers can take advantage of a more balanced housing market."


Even as demand weakened and home sales stumbled, the statewide median home price set another record high in April, hitting $602,920 and surpassing the previous high of $602,760 set last summer. April's price was up 6.5% from $565,880 in March and up 3.2% from a revised $584,460 in April 2018. The year-over-year price growth rate was the strongest since October 2018.

"While we started off the spring home buying season on a down note, home sales in the upcoming months may fare better than the top-level numbers suggest," said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "The year-over-year sales decrease was the smallest in nine months, and pending home sales increased for the second straight month after declining for more than two years. While we don't expect a sharp sales rebound, we also don't expect an acceleration in declines."

Other data from C.A.R.'s April 2019 resale housing report includes:

  • Sales dropped on a non-seasonally adjusted annual basis in all major regions, with the Central Valley region experiencing the smallest decline (0.4%) and the Inland Empire region recording the largest decrease (7.0%).
  • Non-seasonally adjusted sales in the San Francisco Bay Area were down 1.0% from April 2018. Alameda, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties posted annual sales increases while Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Solanoand Sonoma saw declines. Sales in Napa County were flat compared to a year ago.
  • The Los Angeles Metro region posted a non-seasonally adjusted year-over-year sales drop of 2%, with home sales declining in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Sales improved from a year ago in Orangeand Ventura counties.
  • The median home price increased from a year ago in all regions except the San Francisco Bay Area. Of the entire nine-county region, only Napa County posted an increase in April of 3.3%, while San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma recorded the largest price declines of 9.5%, 7.7% and 5.8%, respectively.
  • Conversely, home prices rose on a year-to-year basis across Southern California, with the exception of Ventura County, which was down 2.3%. Price growth remains strongest in the Inland Empire, where homes are most affordable, with prices in both Riverside and San Bernardino counties increasing more than 5%.
  • In the Central Valley, home prices were up across the board, with overall prices for the region rising 1.8% from a year ago.
  • Home prices in the Central Coast region increased 5.7% on a year-over-year basis.
  • Encouragingly, the growth in active listings from the year prior decelerated for the fourth straight month. The number of homes available for sale increased only 10.8% from last April, but still enough to provide a much-needed supply of homes for sale. The growth in active listings has fallen from more than 30% at the end of 2018 suggesting that the market is becoming more balanced, rather than experiencing a full-scale exodus of sellers in California.
  • The Unsold Inventory Index (UII), which is a ratio of inventory over sales, dipped on a month-to-month basis but edged up on a year-over-year basis. The Unsold Inventory Index was 3.4 months in April, down from 3.6 months in March but up from 3.2 months in April 2018. The index measures the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. The jump in the UII from a year ago can be attributed to the moderate sales decline and the sharp increase in active listings.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home is increasing. Time on market fell from 25 days in March to 21 days in April as the home buying season got underway. However, it took a median number of 15 days to sell a home in April 2018.
  • C.A.R.'s statewide sales-price-to-list-price ratio was 98.9% in April 2019 compared to 100% in April 2018.
  • The average statewide price per square foot for an existing, single-family home statewide reached $290 in April 2019, up from $281 in April 2018. The April 2019 figure was the highest level since late 2007.