published on February 26, 2019 - 12:20 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The year got off to an underwhelming start for residential real estate in the Central Valley, according to the latest data from the California Association of Realtors.

Valley home prices and sales activity mirrored trends observed statewide, as California home sales for January reached their lowest level since April 2008, according to a news release.

For Fresno, January sales activity was down 21.7 percent compared to December 2018, and also down 6.3 percent compared to January 2018.

Home prices were a bright spot, though, for sellers in January. The median home price in Fresno last month was $270,000, up 1.3 percent from December and also up 6.5 percent from a year ago.

Kings County sales activity was down 9 percent month-over-month and down 1.4 percent year-over-year for January. The median home price last month was $219,900, down 9.5 percent from December and also down 7.6 percent from January 2018.

In Madera County, sales activity was down 23.1 percent in January compared to December, and also down 7.2 percent on an annual basis. The median home price for January was $260,000, down 1.1 percent month-over-month and down 5.5 percent on an annual basis.

Tulare County sales activity for January was down 16.8 percent from December and also down 16.1 percent year-over year. Last month’s median price was $217,750, down 7.9 percent month-over-month but up nearly 1 percent from a year ago.

Statewide, January’s sales figure was down 3.9 percent from December and down 12.6 percent from home sales in January 2018.

“California continued to move toward a more balanced market as we see buyers having greater negotiating power and sellers making concessions to get their homes sold as inventory grows,” said C.A.R. President Jared Martin, of Fresno’s Keller Williams Westland Realty. “While interest rates have dropped down to the lowest point in 10 months, potential buyers are putting their homeownership plans on hold as they wait out further price adjustments.”

One bright spot was that the partial government shutdown didn’t have the impact on sales activity that was anticipated.

“While we expected the federal government shutdown during most of January to temporarily interrupt closings because of a delay in loan approvals and income verifications, the impact on January’s home sales was minimal,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The decline in sales was more indicative of demand side issues and was broad and across all price categories and regions of the state. Moreover, growing inventory over the past few months has not translated into more sales.”

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