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New-home sales nationally jumped 4.7% in February, the first month-to-month jump since July, according to the Commerce Dept. Many home builders have lowered their prices or just built smaller homes to compete with bank-owned properties. That’s why the median new home price sagged 18% from February, 2008 to just over $200,000.
Meanwhile, in the not-so Golden Anymore State. The California Association of Realtors posted some surprising stats today. Existing, single-family home sales increased 83 percent in February to an annualized rate of 620,410 homes. The statewide median price decreased 40.8 percent to $247,590
California’s Unsold Inventory Index fell to 6.5 months in February, compared with 15.3 months in February 2008
The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home declined to 51.5 days in February 2009, compared with 69.3 days in February 2008.
“Home sales in California continue to be considerably stronger than the nationwide sales figures,” said California Realtors’ President James Liptak. “The market will continue to register large, but diminishing year-to-year percentage gains in the coming months, as current sales are compared against the extremely low numbers that prevailed during the early months of the credit crunch.”
“The California median price has declined by a larger margin than the nationwide median price,” said the association’s Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “This can be attributed to the under $500,000 portion of the market, which has experienced larger price declines than the other market segments due to the large share of distressed homes for sale.”
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.