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So Cal Real Estate: Lots of Inventory, Fewer Buyers

Ron Burgundy: Brian, I'm gonna be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.
Brian Fantana: They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.

Statistics usually just make us more confused, but we'll keep serving them up anyway. Today the California Association of Realtors (CAR) released its "State of the California Housing Market" study, which looks at trends of California buyer and sellers in 2006. The more interesting points:

Home sales in the Southern California region followed the general direction of the state, declining 23 percent (sales in the Bay Area fell at a slightly lower rate than for the state as a whole.) Inventory levels in So Cal nearly tripled from a year ago. The share of buyers who used a second mortgage climbed from 38 percent in 2005 to 43 percent in 2006, more than triple the percentage since 2001 and the highest percentage since 1982.

The median down payment declined 8.8 percent from $80,000 in 2005 to $73,000 in 2006, despite an increase in the median home price. This was the first time since 1995 that the median down payment dropped.

The typical first-time buyer had a median age of 35, earned an annual household income of $80,000, and purchased a home with a historically high median price of $450,000.

· California Association of Realtors