Home sales can be a good indicator of the health of the state’s economy and housing markets. California home sales were running at a relatively high level early in the year, then dropped sharply as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic before recovering in the summer. August’s total of 34,963 was right in line with the August average from 2015 to 2019. As July sales were also healthy, it appears that the state’s housing market has returned to normal, with the boost from lower mortgage rates roughly offsetting the drag from depressed economic activity. The graph below shows unadjusted home sale counts according to Redfin, a national real estate brokerage. Sales are booked when they close, so monthly counts primarily reflect contracts that were signed in the previous month.
This next graph shows weekly counts for 2019 and 2020 using Redfin data for California’s twelve largest markets. The graph suggests that home sales gained momentum in the first half of September. The dip in the most recent week likely reflects the timing of Labor Day this year, as sales volume over the past two weeks combined ran well ahead of the same weeks in 2019.