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California home sales decline in May

IRVINE, Calif. -- California residential properties -- including single family homes, condominiums and townhomes -- resold at an estimated annual pace of 464,373 in May, down 2 percent from April and 15 percent from May 2013, according to RealtyTrac’s May 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report.

States with decreasing resales volume from a year ago included California, down 15 percent, Arizona (down 10) and Nevada (7).

The major metro area with decreasing sales volume from a year ago was Boston, down 23 percent. Others were Fresno, down 22 percent, Los Angeles (down 16) and Phoenix (13).

“Sales continue to be down year over year, but inventory levels are beginning to climb giving prospective homeowners more choices to buy within the Southern California market,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market.

The median resales price of California properties – including distressed and non-distressed – was $365,000 in May, up 3 percent from April and 16 percent from May 2013.

The median price of distressed resales was 31 percent lower than the median price for non-distressed properties in California.

Distressed resales and short sales combined accounted for 17.4 percent of all California residential transactions in May.

Nationwide, residential properties, including single family homes, condominiums and townhomes, resold at an estimated annual pace of 5,147,550 in May, virtually unchanged from April and an increase of less than 1 percent from May 2013.

The median resale price of U.S. residential properties — including both distressed and non-distressed — was $180,000, up 6 percent from the previous month and up 13 percent from a year ago.

The year-over-year increase in May was the second consecutive month with a double-digit annual increase in U.S. home prices, and the biggest annual increase since U.S. home prices bottomed out in March 2012.

Resales prices in every price range above $200,000 analyzed in the report increased as a share of total resales, both from the previous month and from a year ago, with the increase generally higher in the higher price ranges.

The share of home resales in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range increased 2 percent from the previous month and were up 6 percent from a year ago, but the share of home sales in all price ranges above $750,000 was up more than 20 percent from a year ago.

Meanwhile the share of home resales decreased from a year ago in all price ranges below $200,000, with bigger decreases corresponding to lower price ranges.

The share of homes priced between $100,000 and $200,000 decreased 5 percent from a year ago, while the share of homes between $50,000 and $100,000 declined 13 percent and the share of homes priced below $50,000 — often highly distressed properties — dropped 22 percent.

Home resales in the $100,000 to $200,000 price range accounted for one-third of all transactions in May — the largest percentage of any price range — but homes priced between $200,000 and $400,000 were close, accounting for nearly 32 percent of all resales for the month.

Resales of homes priced in the $200,000 to $400,000 range were at their highest percentage of U.S. home transactions since September 2008 — a 68-month high.

The median price of distressed resales in the United States was $120,000, 37 percent below the median price of non-distressed properties: $190,000.

Distressed resales and short sales combined accounted for 14.3 percent of all U.S. residential transactions in May, down from 15.6 percent in April and from 15.9 percent of all sales in May 2013.

“Distressed sales continue to represent a smaller share of the overall sales pie nationwide, helping to boost median home prices higher given that distressed sales tend to be in lower price ranges,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “When broken down by average price range, U.S. sales are clearly shifting away from the lower end. Properties selling below $200,000 represented 50 percent of all sales in May, but that was down from a 55 percent share a year ago. Meanwhile, the share of homes selling above $200,000 increased from a 45 percent a year ago to a 50 percent in May 2014.”

The metro area with the highest share of combined short sales and distressed resales was Las Vegas at 36.6 percent.

Others in the West were Modesto, Calif., (31.9 percent) and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario in Southern California's Inland Empire (29.3 percent).

Short sales nationwide accounted for 4.5 percent of all resales in May, down from 5.4 percent in April and 5.8 percent in May 2013.

The metros with the highest percentages of short sales in May were all in Florida, with Lakeland the highest at 17.7 percent.

Resales of lender-owned (REO) properties nationwide accounted for 8.6 percent of all transactions in May, down from 9.1 percent in April and 9.3 percent in May 2013.

The five metros with the highest percentage of REO resales in May were all in the West, headed by Modesto at 26.7 percent. Others were Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at 23.3 percent, Las Vegas (23.1 percent), Stockton (21.5), and Bakersfield (19.7 percent).

Resales at the public foreclosure auction accounted for 1.2 percent of all transactions nationwide in May, up from 1.1 percent of all sales in April and up from 0.8 percent of all sales in May 2013.

The metro with the highest percentage of foreclosure auction resales in May was Orlando, Fla., at 3.8 percent.

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