October Presents Challenges for California’s Housing Market as Home Sales Continue to Lag

November 17, 2023 - 3 min read

California’s September housing market by the numbers:

  • The median home price across California in October reached $840,360, reflecting a 0.4 percent decrease compared to September and a 5.3 percent rise from October 2022.
  • Single-family home sales totaled 241,770, marking a 0.3 percent increase from September and a 11.9 percent drop from October 2022.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 20 days compared to 28 days in October 2022.
  • By the end of October, year-to-date statewide home sales had decreased by 27.2 percent compared to the same period last year.
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California’s housing market update for October 2023

According to the California Association of Realtors, California’s home sales remained flat in October. One key factor is the elevated interest rates, which have deterred potential buyers from entering the market. The report also notes that housing inventory remains limited, making it more challenging for buyers to find suitable properties.

Despite the sluggish sales, the statewide median home price reached $840,360 in October. This was a 0.4 percent decrease from September and a 5.3 percent gain from last October. It’s worth noting that these figures are expected to level off in the coming months, following the typical seasonal pattern.

C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Jordan Levine stressed that due to ongoing affordability difficulties, we should not expect an increase in sales activity for the remainder of the year.

“With the Fed planning on holding rates higher for longer, the cost of borrowing will remain elevated and may not come down much in the near term. Housing affordability will continue to hinder sales activity for the rest of the year, especially in the low- and mid-price ranges,” Levine said.

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What’s happening in the California housing market at the regional level?

When it comes to the various regions across the Golden State, the real estate market continued to showcase a range of trends in October 2023.

Here’s a closer look at the median home prices and their month-to-month (MTM) and year-to-year (YTY) percentage change across California.

Median Sold Price of Existing Single-Family Homes & Sales

State/Region/CountyOct. 2023Sep. 2023Oct. 2022Price MTM% ChgPrice YTY% ChgSales MTM% ChgSales YTY% Chg
Calif. Single-Family Home$840,360$843,340$798,140-0.4%5.3%0.3%-11.9%
Calif. Condo/Townhome$660,000$650,000$620,0001.5%6.5%-0.9%-7.8%
Los Angeles Metro Area$785,000$780,000$742,0000.6%5.8%2.4%-7.6%
Central Coast$1,050,000$950,000$937,50010.5%12.0%0.0%1.9%
Central Valley$473,000$481,000$455,000-1.7%4.0%-3.9%-11.3%
Far North$376,000$385,000$392,750-2.3%-4.3%11.5%-2.3%
Inland Empire$561,410$550,000$550,0002.1%2.1%-0.9%-0.9%
San Francisco Bay Area$1,268,940$1,300,000$1,200,000-2.4%5.7%8.8%-3.9%
Southern California$820,000$820,000$770,0000.0%6.5%3.0%-7.4%

Source: California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.)

The Central Valley recorded the largest annual sales decline at 11.3%, followed by Southern California (7.4%), the San Francisco Bay Area (3.9%), and the Far North (2.3%). Among the counties, Del Norte had the biggest decrease in sales, with a decline of 47.4% compared to the previous year.

In terms of affordability, the Far North region continues to claim the top spot in California with a median home cost of $376,000 in October. In contrast, the tech-centric region of San Francisco Bay predictably recorded a median home price of $1,268,940 last month.

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Is it a good time to buy a house in California?

Making the decision to purchase a home in California is a deeply personal one, influenced by many factors, including your goals, financial means, job stability, and lifestyle preferences. And while California’s real estate prices have continued their upward trajectory for years, if your dream is to call the Golden State home, it remains a good investment opportunity.

So when you are ready to make a home purchase in California, securing the right home loan is an essential part of the process. Start by comparing lenders and find the best financing option tailored to your needs. Simply complete this form and we’ll introduce you to some helpful lenders.

Aleksandra Kadzielawski
Authored By: Aleksandra Kadzielawski
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Aleksandra is the Senior Editor at The Mortgage Reports, where she brings 10 years of experience in mortgage and real estate to help consumers discover the right path to homeownership. Aleksandra received a bachelor’s degree in finance from DePaul University. She is also a licensed real estate agent in Arizona and a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).