Home sales, prices increase in December

Home sales increase in DecemberHome sales increase in DecemberHome sales in California were at the highest level since January 2011, according to a December report from the California Association of Realtors.

With 520,330 homes sold in the month, the figure represents a 3.3 percent from November and a 0.1 percent increase from December 2010. It was the third consecutive month that sales increased.

The median price of a single-family home increased 1.8 percent in December to $285,920 but decreased 6.2 percent from $304,770 in December 2010.

“With the economy slowly improving, home buyers – investors and first-time buyers alike – took advantage of affordable interest rates and made a push to close escrow by the end of year,” said C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold, in a release. “Robust sales over the past few months signal the housing market is treading above water on its own in the first full year without the government stimulus that has helped housing in the last couple of years.”

In Fresno County, sales increased 13.7 percent in the month and 14.2 percent from the year before while while the median price at $140,480, a 3.6 percent decline from a month prior and a 3.3 percent drop from December 2010.

The unsold inventory index, which expresses how many months it would take to sell a home at current rates, went from 4.1 in November to 3.2 in Fresno County. The median time on the market was 35 days, down from 36.3 the month before.

Tulare County home sales rose 6.2 percent from November and 11 percent from the December 2010. The median price increased 0.8 percent in the month to $127,660, a 2.9 percent drop from the year before.

The county had an unsold inventory index of 3.8 in December, down from 4.1 the month before, while the median time on the market dropped from 41.7 days to 35.4.

In Madera County, home sales were up an impressive 24.2 percent in the month and 51.2 percent from December 2010. The median price of a home, meanwhile, climbed 2.6 percent in the month to $106,110, which is a 25.9 percent drop from December 2010.

Madera County's unsold inventory index went from 5.5 in November to 3.8 while the median time on the market rose from 35.4 days to 51.5.

Kings County sales increased 26.6 percent in December and 65.3 percent year-over-year while the median price fell 15.4 percent from November and 17.4 percent year-over-year to $130,560.

Unsold inventory index in the county was at 3.7 in December, down from 5.1 the month before, while the median time on the market was 77.7 days, up from 46.8 in November.