Home sales can be a good indicator of the health of the state’s economy and housing markets. California home sales have been strong by recent historical standards since the pandemic-driven plunge last spring, although the last two months have seen fewer sales than in the same months in 2020. October’s total of 35,606 was 6 percent below last October’s figure. 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 uptick, but it appears that the associated surge in prices is now tempering buyers’ enthusiasm. 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. The weekly counts from late July through October were very similar to the same weeks in 2020, but November’s counts are noticeably lower than last year’s.