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March Home Sales and Prices Affected by COVID-19

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March Home Sales and Prices Affected by COVID-19

Categories: Planning Real Estate

Published 04/24/2020

The California Association of Realtors recently reported that California home sales fell from both the previous month and year in March as the coronavirus pandemic began to affect the housing market, and as the state’s stay-at-home order was put in place.

Finalized escrow sales of existing, single-family homes in California totaled a seasonally balanced annualized pace of 373,070 units in March, as per data gathered by C.A.R. from in excess of 90 neighborhood REALTOR affiliations and MLSs statewide. It is changed in accordance with seasonal factors that generally impact home sales.

March's sales were down 11.5% from the 421,670 level in February and were down 6.1% from a year prior. The month-to-month drop was the first twofold digit loss in over nine years and the biggest since August 2007. Furthermore, the year-over-year decrease was the first in quite a while and the biggest decline since March 2019. Consistently, the median cost grew 5.6% from February's $579,770. A year prior, the statewide middle cost was $565,740.


Considering the emotional change in economic situations, a month to month Google survey led by C.A.R. toward the beginning of April discovered only one of every four buyers stated it is a suitable time to sell, down from 59% a month back, and down from 48% a year prior.

Other key points from C.A.R.’s March 2020 resale housing report include:

  • At the regional level, all major regions experienced a sales decrease from last year, with the Bay Area dropping the most at 12.1 percent, followed by the Central Coast (-7.3 percent), the Central Valley (-6.4 percent), and Southern California (-0.3 percent). Twenty-nine of the 51 counties tracked by C.A.R. experienced a year-over-year sales loss, with Plumas declining the most from last year at -53.8 percent, followed by Glenn (-40.7 percent), and Butte (-36.1 percent).
  • Median prices in all regions increased in March from last year, with the Central Valley up the most at 7.7 percent, followed by the Bay Area (7.4 percent), Southern California (7.3 percent), and the Central Coast (7.0 percent).
  • Forty-two of the 51 counties tracked by C.A.R. reported a year-over-year price gain in March, with Mariposa gaining the most at 20.7 percent from last year. Of the seven counties that experienced a price drop from last March, Mono had the biggest decline of 16.9 percent.
  • California’s supply of available housing decreased in March from the prior month as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt the economy and the housing market. Potential home sellers are holding off listing their properties on the market as uncertainty about the future economic/market conditions remains.
  • C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index dropped to 2.7 months in March, down from 3.6 months both in February and March 2019. It was the lowest inventory level in three months. The index indicates the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current rate of sales.
  • As the fast-moving coronavirus continues to dominate daily lives and the economy freefalls into a recession, many potential home sellers will likely delay selling their homes, which will lead to fewer new listings being listed on the market. On the other hand, as homebuyers put off their plans to buy due to their concerns about the pandemic and its impact on their financial well-being, sales could experience a sharp decline and likely result in a jump in the Unsold Inventory Index in the short term.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home fell significantly from a year ago, declining from 25 days in March 2019 to 15 days in March 2020.
  • C.A.R.’s statewide sales-price-to-list-price ratio* was 100 percent in March 2020, up from 98.5 in March 2019.
  • The statewide average price per square foot** for an existing single-family home was $288 in March 2020 and $277 in March 2019.
  • The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 3.45 percent in March, down from 4.27 percent in March 2019, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate was an average of 3.16 percent, compared to 3.83 percent in March 2019.

For more information, questions, or assistance with deciding whether buying a home or selling a home is a great option for you during this time. Please contact Darryl Glass by phone at (510) 500-7531, e-mail, or schedule a call in the future with Darryl below:

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