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. January marked the fifth straight month that sales were at least 15 percent above the recent average for the month, and the total of 25,679 sales was the highest January figure since at least 2012. It appears historically low mortgage rates and possibly the increased emphasis on working from home have caused a boom in home sales despite the continued weakness in overall 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 the past 52 weeks using Redfin data for California’s twelve largest markets. Strong sales growth continued into early February, although the market may be cooling a bit as the two most recent weeks showed a lower 12-month growth rate than any of the previous eight weeks did.