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Home sales continue upsurge despite high mortgage rates


Price increase in Orange County

Despite a recent uptick in mortgage rates, California's housing market continued to show resilience in February, reaching sales levels not seen since September 2022, with home prices rising in Orange County and the Los Angeles metro area, the California Association of Realtors said this week.

The median price of an existing single-family home in Southern California jumped 7% over last year to $825,000.

February's average price of a single-family home in the Los Angeles metro area rose $40,000 over January's average, to $790,000. For all of Los Angeles County, however, the average price of a single-family home declined in February to $817,100, from $833,000 in January.

Orange County's average price rose from $1.32 million in January to $1.35 million, up from $1.159 million in February 2023.

Statewide, the median price of an existing single-family home last month was $806,490, up from $789,480 in January, and an increase from $735,300 a year earlier.

The state's highest median home price in February was San Mateo County's $1.92 million.

February's sales pace was 12.8% higher from the 257,040 homes sold in January and up 1.3% from a year ago, when a revised 286,290 homes were sold on an annualized basis.

The monthly sales increase was the second straight month of double-digit gains for California. It was also the second consecutive month of year-over-year gains, but the improvement was mild.

While it is likely that sales will stay below this level in the first quarter of 2024, statewide home sales on a year-to-date basis remained positive with an increase of 3.4%, suggesting a better spring home purchasing season than last year, according to CAR.

“Housing supply conditions in California continued to improve in February with new active listings rising more than 10% for the second straight month,'' CAR President Melanie Barker said. “This is great news for buyers who have been competing for a dearth of homes for sale, and the momentum will hopefully build further as we enter the spring home buying season.''