San Francisco, San Jose and Orange County home sales and prices fell as housing activity surged in metros with lower home prices and tax burdens
SEATTLE (April 22, 2019) — U.S. home sale prices were essentially flat in March, ticking down by just 0.1 percent annually to a median of $295,100, according to a new report from Redfin, the tech-powered real estate brokerage. Although very slight, this is the first year-over-year price decrease on record since February 2012, when the median home sale price bottomed out at $171,600.
Nine of the 85 largest metro areas Redfin tracks saw a year-over-year decline in their median price, including a 13 percent drop in San Jose and a 1 percent dip in San Francisco. These and other expensive West Coast markets, including Los Angeles, Orange County, and Seattle, posted double-digit year-over-year declines in the number of homes sold while several large affordable markets on the East Coast saw big annual sales gains. As housing market activity shifted from more to less expensive places, the national median price shifted to reflect the homes that sold last month.
“Homebuyers have backed off in West Coast metros where home prices have risen far out of their budgets,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “The opposite is happening in more affordable metros where buyers are eager to buy now to take advantage of low mortgage rates. In California, where the tax burden is high, some people are finding they have to move out of state to afford to buy a home. As a result, home sales are down in metros throughout the state.”
Though home sales increased 2 percent overall, there was a lot of variation among metro areas. The number of homes sold fell in 37 of the 85 largest metro areas that Redfin tracks, while 24 metro areas saw double-digit increases in home sales compared to a year earlier. Home sales tended to decrease in more expensive metro areas, while home sales surged in some of the least expensive metros.
On average, the metro areas that saw the biggest declines in home sales were more than 2.5 times as expensive as the metro areas where sales surged. The cheapest of the 10 metro areas where sales declined (Fresno, $275,000) was still more expensive than eight of the top 10 metros where sales surged.
“Salt Lake City and Las Vegas experienced rapid home price growth in 2017 and 2018,” explained Fairweather. “Even though these metros are still affordable to Californians, home sales are likely down because it has become harder for locals to afford to buy homes.”
The number of homes for sale at the end of the month was up 3.6 percent from a year earlier in March. The number of homes newly listed for sale fell 2.8 percent from March 2018.
Home-selling speeds were largely unchanged from a year earlier nationally, increasing just one day to a median of 49 days on market.
In March, 20 percent of homes sold above the list price, down from 24.5 percent in March 2018. Meanwhile 22.5 percent of homes on the market in March had a price drop, up from March 2018’s share of 20.2 percent.
To view the full report, including charts and metro-level data breakdowns, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/blog/march-2019-housing-market-tracker/.
Redfin (www.redfin.com) is the tech-powered real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer’s favor. Founded by software engineers, Redfin has the country’s #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers, including the Redfin Estimate, the automated home-value estimate with the industry’s lowest published error rate for listed homes. Homebuyers and sellers enjoy a full-service, technology-powered experience from Redfin real estate agents, while saving thousands in commissions. Redfin serves more than 85 major metro areas across the U.S. and Canada. The company has closed more than $60 billion in home sales.
For more information or to contact a local Redfin real estate agent, visit www.redfin.com. To learn about housing market trends and download data, visit the Redfin Data Center.