Valley housing market struggles in July

Home sales and prices picked up in California in July, according to the California Association of RealtorsHome sales and prices picked up in California in July, according to the California Association of RealtorsCalifornia home sales and prices both posted strong gains in July, while the San Joaquin Valley appeared to move in the opposite direction.
According to a report by the California Association of Realtors, 529,230 single-family homes sold in the in July, up 2 percent from June and 15.3 from July of 2011. The median price of a home also picked up in the month to $333,860, which is 4.2 percent higher than June prices and 12.7 percent higher than last year.

In Fresno County, sales fell 4.7 percent from June and 5.1 percent compared to July 2011. The median home price of $149,060 in July was down 0.6 percent from the previous month but up 8.7 percent from July 2011.

Kings County saw its home sales fall 5.3 percent in July. Compared to last year, however, sales activity was still up 27.1 percent. At $141,110, the median home price in July was up 3.6 percent over the previous month and 23.5 percent over last year.

Madera County's home sales declined by 16.7 percent compared to both June and July 2011. Home prices fell 8.2 percent in the month to a median price of $118,330, which is 27.9 percent higher than last year.

In Tulare County, sales shrank 18.2 percent compared to June and 1.3 percent compared to the same time last year. July's median home price of $121,820 was down 0.4 percent from June but up 6.6 percent over July 2011.

California's unsold inventory index, or number of months to deplete the supply of homes at the current sales rate, was 3.4 months in July compared to 3.5 months in June and 5.6 months in July 2011.

The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home fell to 43.2 days compared to 43.4 days in June and 51.9 days in July 2011.

"REO (Real Estate-Owned) dominated areas such as those in the Inland Empire and the Central Valley are experiencing sales constraints due to an extreme shortage of available homes," said C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold, in a press release. "On the other hand, a robust economy in the San Francisco Bay area and a relatively larger inventory at higher price levels is helping to fuel sales and prices."