Housing Prices Surge Across California

LOS ANGELES—The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in the Los Angeles area rose to $725,000 in April, an increase of $45,000 from a month ago, mirroring a spike across California that brought the state’s median price above the $800,000 benchmark for the first time, a real estate group said May 17.

The Los Angeles area’s median home price was $550,000 just one year ago.

California’s median home price was $813,980 in April, with the rise fueled by heated market conditions and a shortage of homes for sale, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

“Not only do skyrocketing home prices threaten already-low homeownership levels and make it harder for those who don’t already have a home to purchase one, it also brings to question the sustainability of this market cycle,” CAR vice president and chief economist Jordan Levine said. “As vaccination rates increase and the state reopens fully, higher home prices will hopefully entice prospective sellers who have held off putting their homes on the market during the pandemic to feel more comfortable listing their homes for sale, which would alleviate pressure on home prices.”

Meanwhile, closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 458,170 in April. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2021 if sales maintained the April pace throughout the year.

April home sales increased on a monthly basis for the third consecutive month, rising 2.6 percent from 446,410 in March and up 65.1 percent from a year ago. The sharp yearly sales jump was expected as the housing market was hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown last year, when home sales dropped more than 30 percent over the previous April.

For the Southern California region as a whole, April’s median home price was $750,000, a 6.4 percent increase from last month’s $705,000. The region recorded a 65.5 percent increase over last year’s median price of $583,000, the third largest increase in the state.

The biggest increase from last month was seen in the San Francisco Bay area, which saw its median home price jump from $1.225 million in March to $1.328 million.

“California continues to experience one of the hottest housing markets as homes sell at the fastest pace ever, with the share of homes sold above asking price, the price per square foot and the sales-to-list price all at record highs, while active listings remain at historic lows,” CAR president Dave Walsh said.

“The high demand and shortage of homes for sale, driven by these market factors, continued to drive up home prices and shatter the record-high set just last month.”

The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home hit another record low of 7 days in April, down from 13 days in April 2020.

Last week, CAR reported that statewide housing affordability reached its lowest level since mid-2018. The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California in the first quarter of 2021 dropped to 27 percent from 35 percent in the first quarter of 2020, the organization said.

Among Southern California counties, Orange County was the least affordable at 20 percent, while Los Angeles County was at 25 percent affordability for the first quarter.

CAR has more than 200,000 members, and is headquartered in Los Angeles.

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