Even with low housing inventory and slightly higher interest rates, California’s housing market continued a strong sales pace in November 2021, while remaining above pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest home sales and price report from the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.).
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes statewide on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate rose 4.7 percent on a monthly basis in November 2021 to 454,450 units, compared to 434,170 in October 2021. The November 2021 sales pace was down 10.7 percent from a year ago in November 2020, when 508,820 homes were sold on an annualized basis.
The statewide annualized sales figure, collected from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide, represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2021 if sales maintained the November pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
Despite the fifth straight month for a year-over-year sales decrease, statewide home sales maintained a 10.6 percent increase on a year-over-year basis.
In San Diego, home sales were lower in November 2021 in month-over-month and year-over-year comparisons. San Diego home sales in November 2021 declined 6.1 percent compared to October 2021, and 6.6 percent lower than November 2020.
November 2021 County Sales and Price Activity
(Regional and condo sales data not seasonally adjusted)
Meanwhile, the California median home price dipped below the $800,000 benchmark for the second straight month in November 2021 to $782,480, a 2 percent drop from $798,440 in October 2021. The statewide November 2021 median price was 11.9 percent higher than the $698,980 recorded in November 2020. The 2 percent price decline was higher than the 0.1 percent average recorded between October and November in the past 42 years, and it’s consistent with the five-year average logged between 2016 and 2020.
In San Diego, the median sales price for an existing, single-family detached home was $847,750 in November 2021, a 0.3 percent decrease compared to $850,000 in October 2021. The November 2021 median price was 14.6 percent higher than a year ago at $740,000 in November 2020, nearly a $100,000 increase in one year.
“As we move further into the off-peak homebuying season, slowly rising interest rates will motivate savvy buyers to enter the market," said 2022 C.A.R. President Otto Catrina, a Bay Area real estate broker and REALTOR®. “With fewer active buyers in the market during the holidays, prospective buyers who may have taken a breather during the heated peak homebuying months can take advantage of this window of opportunity when there’s less competition and more homes to choose from.”
“California’s winter housing market remains unseasonably resilient, despite market challenges of a lack of inventory, modest interest rate increases, and ongoing affordability issues,” C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Jordan Levine said. “While we believe the market will continue to do well in 2022 as the economy further recovers, a widening imbalance between supply and demand will put upward pressure on prices and create headwinds for housing affordability that could slow sales in the upcoming year.”
Other key points from C.A.R.’s November 2021 resale housing report include:
-- At the regional level, four of the five major regions recorded a sales decline in a year-over-year comparison in November 2021.
-- Nearly two-thirds of all counties (32 of 51) had a year-over-year decrease in closed sales in November, with 16 counties declining by more than 10 percent from a year ago.
-- All major regions posted solid home price gains from a year ago, with four of them recording double-digit, year-over-year median price increases. The San Francisco Bay Area (18.2 percent) had the largest increase of all regions, followed by Southern California (14.0 percent).
-- Market competitiveness was less heated than a few months ago but remained elevated in November. Nearly two-thirds of homes (59.2 percent) sold above the asking price, but that was the lowest level in nine months. November was the 14th consecutive month since September 2020 that more than half of the homes sold above the asking price.
-- While the statewide median sales-price-to-list-price ratio remained above 100 percent, November’s number was the lowest level since March 2021. The sales-to-list-price ratio is an indicator that reflects the negotiation power of home buyers and sellers under current market conditions. The ratio, expressed as a percentage, is calculated by dividing the final sales price of a property by its last list price. A sales-to-list ratio with 100 percent or above suggests that the property sold for more than the list price, while a ratio below 100 percent indicates that the price sold below the asking price.
November 2021 County Unsold Inventory and Days on Market
(Regional and condo sales data not seasonally adjusted)
-- The inventory of available homes for sale in San Diego County in November 2021 was 1.3 months, compared to 1.5 months in October 2121 and 1.6 months a year ago in November 2020. Numbers from previous months in 2021 included: September, 1.6; August, 1.7; July, 1.7. Statewide, the unsold inventory of homes was 1.6 months in November, compared to 1.8 months in October 2021 and 1.9 months in November 2020. It was the second straight month for a month-to-month drop statewide. Overall for the 2021 year, active listings fell 22.4 percent from 2020. Inventory levels indicate the number of months it would take for the available supply of homes on the market to sell-out given the current rate of sales.
--The median number of days it took to sell an existing, single-family home in San Diego County in November 2021 was nine days, which was the same number in October and September 2021. A year ago, in November and October 2020, the number was seven days. The nine-day figure compares to seven days in July 2021, six days in June 2021, and seven days in May 2021. The median represents a time when half the homes sell above it and half below it.
-- Statewide, the median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home remained at 11 days in November 2021, unchanged from October 2021. The 11-day figure compares to 10 days in September 2021 and nine days in November 2020.
-- The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 3.07 percent in November, up from 2.77 percent in November 2020, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate averaged 2.51 percent, compared to 3.0 percent in November 2020.