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State home sales inch up

Sales of existing single-family homes in California totaled 241,520i in January, up slightly from December but a 45.7 percent drop from one year earlier, according to a report released today.

Statewide, the median home price in the first month of 2023 was $751,330, down three percent from December and a decline of 1.9 percent from January 2022, the Los Angeles-based California Association of Realtors reported. The association’s sales data is annualized, meaning it reflects what would be the total number of homes sold during 2023 if sales maintained their January rate for the next 11 months. Those numbers are adjusted to account for seasonal factors that affect ihome sales.

“Thanks to slightly waning interest rates and tempering home prices, California’s housing market kicked off the new year with another step up and continued to improve in January,” said Jennifer Branchini, association president, in a statement.

“The market is moving in the right direction, and more gradual improvements could be coming in the months ahead.”

The huge drop in sales year-over-year can be attributed to the sales boom that happened at the end of 2021 and the start of 2022, when interest rates were around three percent,  said Jordan Levine, the association’s vice president and chief economist.

“It’s a huge drop, but it’s exaggerated,” Levine said. “The housing market came back when [the pandemic] started to go away and interest rates were at a record low. A lot of people could afford to buy a house.”

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