Home sales can be a good indicator of the health of the state’s economy and housing markets. While California home sales have surged since the pandemic-driven plunge last spring, May had fewer sales than April which is not the usual pattern for those two months. The May total of 36,359 sales was still the highest May figure in at least a decade. Historically low mortgage rates, strong income growth among the state’s higher earners, and possibly the increased emphasis on working from home have contributed to the recent boom, although it now appears that the sharp increases in prices in most of the state may be causing buyers to balk. 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. As the figure shows, May is typically a fairly busy month.
This next graph shows weekly counts for the past 52 weeks using Redfin data for California’s twelve largest markets. The deceleration of sales volume that started in May continued through early June.