California pending home sales register first annual increase in nearly two years, C.A.R. reports

REALTORS® say improving economic conditions and buyer urgency point to better market in 2015

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Pending home sales posted higher on a year-over-year basis for the first time since January 2013 and as expected, declined from the previous month due primarily to a seasonal slowdown toward the end of the year, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.

Additionally, with the specter of a better economy, greater job growth, and increasing household formation, C.A.R.’s new Market Pulse Survey found that many REALTORS® expect market conditions to improve in 2015, as does C.A.R.

Pending home sales data:

  • Pending sales were up 2.6 percent from the 69.1 index recorded in December 2013.  The yearly increase was better than the six-month average of -4.3 percent from June 2014 to November 2014.
  • California pending home sales dropped in December, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* falling 21.9 percent from 90.7 in November to 70.9 in December, based on signed contracts.  The monthly decline was in line with the seasonal slowdown in pending sales observed at the end of the year for the last two years.

Equity and distressed housing market data:

  • The share of equity sales – or non-distressed property sales – dipped for the second straight month in December.  Equity sales made up 89.8 percent of all sales in December, down from 90.5 percent recorded in November.  Equity sales have been more than 80 percent of total sales since July 2013 and have risen at or near 90 percent since mid-2014. Equity sales made up 84.4 percent of sales in December 2013.
  • Conversely, the combined share of all distressed property sales edged up in December, up from 9.5 percent in November to 10.2 percent in December. Distressed sales were down 33 percent from a year ago, when the share was 15.6 percent.

REALTOR® Market Pulse Survey**:

  • In the fourth quarter of 2014, the vast majority (87 percent) of REALTORS® expected market conditions to either improve or stay the same over the next year.
  • More REALTORS® (61 percent) closed a transaction in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to the first quarter (53 percent).
  • In an indication of stabilizing home prices, fewer homes (24 percent) sold above asking price in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to 46 percent in the first quarter.
  • Homes selling below asking price rose from 19 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 48 percent in the fourth quarter, indicating home sellers’ expectations moved more in line with buyers’ expectations toward the end of the year and competition between sellers attempting to appeal to affordability strapped home buyers increased.
  • More than half (58 percent) of properties received multiple offers in the fourth quarter of 2014, down from 69 percent in the first quarter.

Charts (click links to open):

Share of Distressed Sales to Total Sales

Type of Sale Dec. 2014 Nov. 2014 Dec. 2013
Equity Sales 89.8% 90.5% 84.4%
Total Distressed Sales 10.2% 9.5% 15.6%
     REOs 4.7% 4.3% 5.1%
     Short Sales 5.1% 4.8% 10.0%
     Other Distressed Sales (Not Specified) 0.4% 0.4% 0.5%
All Sales 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Single-family Distressed Home Sales by Select Counties
(Percent of total sales)

County Dec. 2014 Nov. 2014 Dec. 2013
Alameda 3% 3% 9%
Amador 10% 7% 35%
Butte 18% 13% 18%
Calaveras 14% 19% NA
Contra Costa 6% 3% 7%
El Dorado 14% 7% 19%
Fresno 19% 16% 24%
Glenn 40% 29% 27%
Humboldt 14% 12% 14%
Kern 13% 10% 19%
Kings 26% 17% 28%
Lake 20% 19% 34%
Los Angeles 9% 9% 17%
Madera 13% 14% 20%
Marin 2% 2% 8%
Mariposa 7% 10% 40%
Mendocino 25% 13% 27%
Merced 10% 17% 22%
Monterey 9% 9% 20%
Napa 3% 7% 10%
Orange 6% 5% 10%
Placer 7% 8% 13%
Plumas 8% 11% NA
Riverside 12% 13% 17%
Sacramento 13% 12% 19%
San Benito 8% 3% 15%
San Bernardino 14% 16% 22%
San Diego 6% 6% 5%
San Joaquin 13% 11% 23%
San Luis Obispo 6% 6% 7%
San Mateo 2% 1% 6%
Santa Clara 3% 2% 7%
Santa Cruz 2% 6% 15%
Shasta 20% 19% 24%
Siskiyou 26% 24% 24%
Solano 11% 9% 22%
Sonoma 6% 5% 15%
Stanislaus 12% 10% 22%
Sutter 20% 21% 32%
Tulare 16% 17% 26%
Yolo 10% 8% 18%
Yuba 22% 16% 31%
California 10% 10% 16%

NA = not available

Follow us on Twitter @CAR Media and @CAREALTORS®
Like us on Facebook.

*Note:  C.A.R.’s pending sales information is generated from a survey of more than 70 associations of REALTORS® and MLSs throughout the state.  Pending home sales are forward-looking indicators of future home sales activity, offering solid information on future changes in the direction of the market.  A sale is listed as pending after a seller has accepted a sales contract on a property.  The majority of pending home sales usually becomes closed sales transactions one to two months later.  The year 2008 was used as the benchmark for the Pending Homes Sales Index.  An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2008.

**C.A.R.’s Market Pulse Survey is a monthly online survey to gather California REALTORS®’ sentiment about their last closed transaction and business activity for the previous month and the last year.

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® ( is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with 165,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.


2015 Housing Market Forecast

2015 Housing Market Forecast

Palisades Village Future Development


Palisades Village will be a comfortable neighborhood gathering place. Retailers being sought will include a diverse group of specialty independent merchants and unique brands.

A collection of charming storefronts oriented around Swarthmore Avenue and a central park, Palisades Village will once again be a favorite gathering place and centerpiece of the neighborhood. Approachable, unique, diverse and exciting—we envision a neighborhood gathering spot with an enjoyable variety of shopping, dining, personal services and community gathering spaces.


I am delighted to present our Palisades Village project. We have been welcomed into this community, and many of you have taken the time to share your views on Swarthmore–what it once was, and what it can be. Your input over the past year will help us create a street that reflects the community it will serve.

This street is your street. It will be a place that is welcoming to families old and young. A place you will be proud to call your own.

I have been a student of great streets and have studied hundreds of them over the years. I am fascinated by what makes them great, and I have challenged my team to reinvent Palisades Village to place it among the greatest. To me, a great street is much more than just buildings and a sidewalk. What matters most is how the street works with the local community and becomes a gathering place where memories are created. We want to host community meetings, celebrate special occasions, and foster community events. We have designed the new Swarthmore to be pedestrian-friendly
and appropriately scaled. We heard from you that parking is a critical component and we made certain to increase parking both on the street and in the underground parking structure.

I am especially excited to be a part of the renaissance of the Bay Theater. I know this was a special place for the community, and that is the reason I took great care to bring it back. It couldn’t be just any theater; it needed to be how you remembered it, and possibly greater. We dug up the original renderings from architect S. Charles Lee in order to create the theater as he intended in 1948. The result is a beautiful plan that evokes the great movie theaters of that period.

What makes a street comfortable, cherished, yours? A neighborhood green with free community events and gatherings. A community room that can be reserved by local organizations for meetings and parties. Great restaurants with outdoor dining lining the street and spilling out into the green. Unique shops. A great specialty grocer. It is exciting to imagine how wonderful we can make the center of your town, so it’s a special place for each of you.