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California May Home Sales

An estimated 35,536 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was up 0.9 percent from 35,202 sales in April, and down 13.3 percent from 40,965 sales in May 2010. California sales for the month of May have varied from a low of 32,223 in 1995 to a high of 67,958 in 2004, while the average is 46,840. DataQuick’s statistics go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $249,000, unchanged from April, and down 10.4 percent from $278,000 in May 2010. The year-over-year decrease was the eighth in a row after 11 months of increases. The last time the median fell more on a year-over-year basis was in September 2009, when it fell 11.3 percent. The statewide median’s low point in the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009, while the peak was $484,000 in early 2007.

Distressed property sales made up about 53 percent of California’s resale market last month.

Of the existing homes sold in May, 35.5 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the prior 12 months. That was down from 36.4 percent in April and about the same as 35.4 percent in May 2010. The all-time high was 58.5 percent in February 2009.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 17.9 percent of resales last month. That was up from and estimated 16.9 percent in April but down from 18.9 percent a year earlier. Two years ago short sales made up 12.2 percent of the resale market.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,025. That was down from $1,050 in April and and down from $1,178 in May 2010. Adjusted for inflation, last month’s mortgage payment was 53.8 percent below the spring 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 61.5 percent below the current cycle’s peak in June 2006.

San Diego-based DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity has declined somewhat but remains high by historical standards. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, cash and non-owner occupied buying has eased a bit this spring but remains relatively high, DataQuick reported.