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REAL ESTATE: Highlights from 2015 Housing Market Survey

REAL ESTATE: Highlights from 2015 Housing Market Survey

REAL ESTATE: Highlights from 2015 Housing Market Survey

image0-REAL ESTATE: Highlights from 2015 Housing Market Survey

Autumn, across many households, has been a time to take a collective pause.

Wall paint might change to reflect new, seasonal colors. The chores that were put off to the side might suddenly get done.

House hunters and sellers ponder what their involvement in the real estate market might bring.

That’s not always an easy assessment to make. California’s market is as diverse as its terrain.

For more than 35 years, the annual Housing Market Survey released in the fall has been a handy guide to help take stock of the sales trends and demographics that may be bubbling up in the marketplace. Put out by California Association of Realtors’ chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young, the survey randomly polls real estate agents on their last transaction.

Here’s a glimpse from this snapshot:

The share of second vacation homes rose to 5.3 percent after two years of decline. But the share of investment properties dropped to 13.1 percent – the lowest level since 2009. The peak was in 2013 when nearly 20 percent of the buyers were investors.

Likewise, the share of international buyers is falling. At 4 percent, that’s the lowest share in the international buy pool in eight years.

First-time buyer transactions noted in the survey fell too. In 2015, only 29.5 percent of all agents polled said their last transaction involved a first-time home buyer. The long-run average has been 38 percent.

“It tells you how competitive the market is,” she said.

Another finding offered a clue on low-inventory: Sellers had owned their homes for 10 years. Over the 1990s, the median was eight years. Homeowners are staying put, in part, because of low interest rate on their loan, rising prices elsewhere and concerns about a competitive marketplace, Appleton-Young said.

“I think this will be with us for awhile,” she added, and should be brought into the dialogue on housing issues in California.

Contact the writer: 951-368-9423 or dgruszecki@pe.com

Press Enterprise : Real Estate