CAR Anticipates Modest 2012 for California

Written by: editor   Wed, September 21, 2011 Beyond Today’s News, Housing Forecasts

California home sales and median price are predicted to improve only slightly in 2012, as the continuation of the tepid economic recovery, uncertainty about the future, and funding challenges for residential mortgages are expected to keep the market moving sideways.

The forecast for California home sales next year is for a slight 1 percent increase to 496,200 units, following essentially flat sales of 491,100 homes this year compared to the 491,500 homes sold in 2010, according to the California Association of Realtors’ (C.A.R.) 2012 California Housing Market Forecast.

“Despite the run of unforeseen global events in the first half of this year that slowed the overall economy, 2011 home sales are projected to essentially remain unchanged from last year,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce. “Looking ahead, the fundamentals of the housing market – such as low mortgage rates, high housing affordability, and favorable home prices – are expected to continue, but at this point, a strong housing recovery will depend on consumer confidence, job creation, and the availability and cost of home loans.

“Discretionary sellers will play a larger role in next year’s housing market,” said Peerce. “Those who held off selling in 2011 may list their homes in 2012, thereby improving the mix of homes for sale compared with the last few years. Additionally, distressed sales will remain an important segment of the overall market as lenders continue to work through the foreclosure process,” Peerce said.

The California median home price will increase 1.7 percent in 2012 to $296,000 in 2012, according to the forecast. Following a double-digit increase in the median price in 2010, the median home price will decrease a projected 4 percent in 2011 to $291,000.

“2012 will be another transition year for the California housing market, as the continued uncertainty about the U.S. financial system, job growth, and the stability of the overall economy remain in the forefront for all market participants,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “An improvement in job growth, consumer spending, and corresponding gains in housing are essential to a broader recovery in the economy, but would-be buyers will remain cautious as they weigh these myriad uncertainties against the clear opportunities presented by today’s very affordable housing market.

“The most likely scenario is for the modest recovery to continue, and this should push sales up slightly next year by 1 percent and maintain levels that are significantly higher than those recorded during the depths of the housing downturn.

“The wild cards for 2012 are many, including federal, fiscal, monetary, and housing policies; the contentious political climate during an election year; and the strength of the U.S. economic recovery,” said Appleton-Young.

Appleton-Young will present an expanded forecast Wednesday afternoon during CALIFORNIA REALTOR® EXPO 2011 (, running from Sept. 20-22 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. The trade show attracts nearly 6,500 attendees and is the largest state real estate trade show in the nation.

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