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Real estate sales in America's largest state will decline 10 percent this year with hopes for a lackluster 2 percent rise in 2011.

California Faces Gloomy 2011

Real estate sales in America’s largest state will decline 10 percent this year with hopes for a lackluster 2 percent rise in 2011.

That’s gloomy forecast was issued today by the California Association of Realtors at tis annual expo in Anaheim.

California home sales for 2010 are forecast to decline 10 percent from the 2009 sales figure of 546,500 homes sold. Sales in 2011 are projected to increase a lackluster 2 percent to 502,000 units compared with 492,000 units (projected) in 2010. After two consecutive years of record-setting price declines, the median home price in California will climb 11.5 percent in 2010 to $306,500 and increase another 2 percent in 2011 to $312,500, according to the forecast.

“California’s housing market will see small increases in both home sales and the median price in 2011 as the housing market and general economy struggle to find their sea legs,” said C.A.R. President Steve Goddard. “The minor improvement in the housing market next year will be driven by the slow pace of recovery in the economy and modest job growth. Distressed properties will figure prominently in the market next year, but we also expect to see discretionary sellers play a larger role,” he said.

“As the U.S. economy continues its tepid recovery, we’ll see some improvement in California’s economy,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “We expect a net jobs increase of approximately 1.4 million jobs in California for the year to come and an improvement in unemployment figures,” she said.

“The situation in the California housing market continues to be a tale of two housing markets,” said Goddard. The segment of the market under $500,000 has been driven by distressed sales, while higher-priced areas of the state have been constrained by restricted financing options, and increasingly have experienced an increase in the number of distressed properties. Sales in the low end have been constrained by a lack of inventory, putting upward pressure on prices. Multiple offers on lower-end homes have been very common, according to Goddard.

“A lean supply of available homes for sale will drive prices up at the low end, but larger inventories and limited, less attractive financing will cause continued softness at the high end,” said Appleton-Young. “There’s some indication that lenders will accelerate the number of foreclosures coming on market, further adding to the housing supply, but we do not anticipate that lenders will flood the market with distressed properties,” she said.

“The wild cards for 2011 include federal housing policies, actions of underwater homeowners and the strength of the economic recovery,” said Appleton-Young. “What is certain is that favorable home prices and historically low interest rates will continue to make owning a home in California attractive for those who are in a position to buy,” she said.

2011 FORECAST FACT SHEET

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010f

2011f

SFH Resales (000s)

625.0

477.5

346.9

439.8

546.5

492.0

502.0

% Change

0.03%

-23.6%

-27.3%

26.8%

24.3%

-10.0%

2.0%

Median Price ($000s)

$522.7

$556.4

$560.3

$346.4

$275.0

$306.5

$312.5

% Change

16.0%

6.5%

0.7%

-38.2%

-20.6%

11.5%

2.0%

30-Yr FRM

5.9%

6.4%

6.3%

6.0%

5.1%

4.7%

5.1%

1-Yr ARM

4.5%

5.5%

5.6%

5.2%

4.7%

3.9%

4.1%

2 comments

  1. Congress quietly passed, and President Obama signed, an extension on the $746,000 limit for homes that Fannie and Freddie will buy. Because if the limit fell back down to the mid-$500k as they would have at the end of this year, then no one would be able to buy houses in the “mid-upper” range in California (or other high-priced areas).

    So remember, folks. We Realtors owe the Democratic Congress, the Fed, and President Obama a GREAT DEAL for standing the government behind 90% of all mortgage loans in America. Without it, we’d be eating oatmeal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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