Home sales can be a good indicator of the health of the state’s economy and housing markets. California home sales have rebounded strongly since the pandemic-driven plunge in the spring. November had fewer sales than any of the previous four months, but it’s typically one of the slower months. Its total of 33,506 sales was easily the highest November figure since at least 2011. It appears that the boosts from historically low mortgage rates and possibly the increased emphasis on working from home are outweighing 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. Since early September, sales have consistently been running 20 to 30 percent ahead of the same weeks in 2019. While there was an unusually big drop during Thanksgiving week, the next week saw a big bounce.