California’s real estate market hit record numbers last month, according to an April 16 report from the California Association of Realtors (CAR).
In Calaveras County, the median price of existing single-family homes increased from $352,000 in March of 2020 to $436,000 in March of 2021, a rise of 23.8%. While sales increased by 19.7% from February, sales declined by 9% year-over-year.
Yet the local market is still in the midst of the pandemic boom, according to President of the Calaveras County Realtors Association John Friend.
On June 1, 2020, demand for real estate in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties exploded with families looking to escape the city and work from home. The trend hasn’t stopped, but sales have slowed in the first quarter of 2021 due to low inventory.
Last January, Calaveras County tied with Mariposa County for the highest year-to-year percentage increase in sales of existing single-family homes in the state, with a 69.2% increase. Last December, the county ranked second to only Tuolumne County, and last August, Calaveras County had the largest year-over-year increase in the state.
For Friend, who owns real estate offices in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, 2020 was a great year for business.
“It’s the best year that I’ve had as a broker,” he said. “The trend I see is that people from the Bay Area and the Valley are wanting to move up here. The population is less dense and you can have more land for your money. The people up here are moving to Idaho and Oregon.”
The biggest hotspot for sales in the county remains in Arnold, where mountain cabins and vacation homes fly off the market within days.
“People put a house on the market on Thursday and take offers until Monday. They just pick the highest offer,” Friend said.
Other in-demand areas with low inventory are situated along the Highway 4 corridor: Copperopolis, Angels Camp and Murphys. However, Friend says he has noticed a more recent uptick in homes coming on the market with the rising prices.
It is also a good time to sell land in Calaveras County, with legal marijuana growers eagerly buying up properties over 20 acres.
Similarly, across the state, high demand and low inventory continue to fuel rising real estate prices.
“Fierce competition drove California’s median home price to reach a new record high in March, while the state’s housing market continued its momentum with sales remaining solid heading into the spring homebuying season,” a press release from CAR reads. “Every major region set a new record-high median price in March and continued to increase from last year by double digits.”
The statewide median price for existing single-family homes reached an all-time high of $759,000 in March, up 8.6% from February and up 23.9% from March of last year. The year-over-year gain was the largest since October of 2013, and the eighth straight month that the year-over-year median price saw a double-digit gain.
Median time on the market was only eight days last month, the lowest value on record, and down from 15 days in March of 2020. In addition, the sales-to-list-price ratio hit a record high at 102.2%.
The ratio is calculated by dividing the final sales price of a property by its last list price. A percentage of 100% or above suggests that the home sold for more than the list price, while a percentage below 100% suggests that the home sold for below the list price.
CAR reported that about two-thirds of homes sold above their list price in March. “A lack of homes for sale is creating unprecedented market competition, leading to a record share of homes selling above asking price,” CAR President Dave Walsh said.
Sales of existing single-family homes numbered 446,000 in March on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down by 3.5% from February but up 19.7% from March of last year. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate is a calculation of the total number of homes that would be sold during 2021 if the rate of homes sold last month is maintained over the course of the year.
“While still solid, the monthly sales decline was the third in a row, and the sales pace was the lowest since last July,” the CAR release reads. “The near-20% sales gain can be attributed partly to weak home sales a year ago as the coronavirus outbreak abruptly halted the real estate market and economy.”
Though prices and sales have increased year-over-year, active listings have declined.
“Active listings fell 51.1% in March from last year—the third consecutive month that listings declined more than 50%,” the CAR release reads. “Forty-nine of the 51 counties reported by CAR recorded a decline in active listings on a year-over-year basis in March, and 30 of them dropped more than half of what they had a year ago. Yuba had the biggest drop in March, with active listings plunging 77.9% from last year. Calaveras (-73.5%) and Amador (-71.6%) were the other two counties with more than a 70% decline in for sale properties at the end of the first quarter.”