Napa County home sales skyrocket, median price also on the rise

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In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Napa County home sales skyrocketed in July, rising 79.8% from June to July, the California Association of Realtors reported.

At the same time, the median sold price of an existing single-family home in Napa County rose from $725,000 in June to $782,500 in July, CAR said. In July 2019, the median sold price was $685,000.

CAR did not provide the numbers it used to calculate the 79.8% jump. However, a separate report from Bay Area Real Estate Information Services Inc. indicated that 189 homes sold in Napa County in July, compared to 114 in June. That's a 65.8% increase.

According to a CAR news release, California's housing market continued to recover as home sales climbed to their highest level in more than two-and-a-half years in July, while setting another record-high median home price.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 437,890 units in July, according to information collected by CAR from more than 90 local Realtor associations and MLSs statewide.

The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2020 if sales maintained the July pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

July's sales total climbed above the 400,000 level for the first time since February 2020, before the COVID-19 crisis depressed the housing market, and was the highest level in more than two and a half years.

July sales rose 28.8% from 339,910 in June and were up 6.4% from a year ago, when 411,630 homes were sold on an annualized basis. July marked the first time in five months that home sales posted an annual gain.

"A housing market trifecta of strong pent-up demand, record-low interest rates and a renewed interest in the value of homeownership bolstered July's home sales," said 2020 CAR President Jeanne Radsick, a second-generation Realtor from Bakersfield.

"With this year's delayed start of the homebuying season due to the pandemic, we expect home sales to remain robust in August and September, extending the season later than what's typical."

With home sales continuing to recover in July and sales of higher-priced properties bouncing back faster than the rest of the market, the statewide median price hit a new high after setting a record just in June.

California's median home price reached $666,320 in July, jumping 6.4% from June's $626,170 and 9.6% from $607,990 in July 2019.

The monthly price increase was higher than the historical average price change from June to July and, in fact, was the highest ever recorded for a June-to-July change.

A change in the mix of sales was one primary factor that pushed the median price higher in July, as sales of higher-priced properties continued to outpace sales of lower-priced homes.

Homes priced below $500,000, which made up 44% of total sales in the California market in June 2020, only comprised 40% of all sales in July 2020.

Sales of million-dollar properties, on the other hand, increased in market share to 20.4% in the most recent month compared with 18.1% in June 2020.

"Stronger sales of higher-priced properties continue to propel the statewide median home price, as those who tend to purchase more expensive homes are less impacted by the economic recession," said CAR Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.

"High demand in resort communities is another variable that's fueling the increase in home prices, as a new wave of remote workers are leaving cities in search of more space and a healthier lifestyle in what used to be the second/vacation home market."

Reflecting the rise in home prices, a monthly Google poll conducted by CAR in early August found that 54% of consumers said it is a good time to sell, up from 44% a month ago, and up from 52% a year ago.

Meanwhile, low interest rates continue to fuel the optimism for homebuying; 33% of the consumers who responded to the poll believed that now is a good time to buy a home, sharply higher than last year, when 23% said it was a good time to buy a home.

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