Friday, October 20, 2006

Expect more declining sales

The rate of home price appreciation will post a modest decline next year following several years of steep increases, while the sales pace will decrease as the market stabilizes throughout 2007, according to C.A.R.'s "2007 California Housing Market Forecast," presented this week during the California REALTOR® EXPO 2006, running at the Long Beach Convention Center. The median home price in California will decline 2 percent to $550,000 in 2007 compared with a projected median of $561,000 this year, while sales for 2007 are projected to decrease 7 percent to 447,500 units, compared with 481,200 units (projected) in 2006.

"Although the 2007 sales decline is not expected to be as steep as what we experienced this year, the psychology of the market -- matching the differing expectations of sellers and buyers -- will continue to be a factor as REALTORS® help consumers navigate their way through a changing market," said C.A.R. President Vince Malta. "While we're projecting a modest decline in the median price of a home, over the long term, residential real estate in California has been and will continue to be a solid investment. Since 1968, the long-term average price appreciation is 9.1 percent."

"While we recognized that the frenetic sales pace of the past four years could not continue indefinitely, the housing market in 2006 did not fare as well as we initially expected," said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "The anticipated slowdown that began in October 2005 was heightened by dual natural disasters in the Gulf Coast, a significant drop in consumer confidence, rising energy and raw materials costs, and a series of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes that began in June 2004. Fixed-rate mortgages also hit and passed the psychological threshold of 6 percent, while adjustable-rate mortgages passed 5 percent, ultimately causing a decline in affordability. Affordability concerns also will continue to constrain sales for many households in California throughout 2007, especially for first-time home buyers."


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