California home sales hampered by government shutdown

Posted by BoNhia Lee on November 20, 2013 

A sold sign hangs outside a Fresno home.

FRESNO BEE FILE PHOTO Buy Photo

California home sales were dragged down in October by the federal government shutdown and the seasonal decline in housing activity, according to the California Association of Realtors.

But in Fresno County, the real estate market seemed to have remained steady. Home sales managed to inch up by 3.5% last month, falling 16.2% compared to the year before, the association's monthly housing report said. That's a positive change from September when home sales fell by 13%.

Statewide sales, however, fell nearly 3% in October and 11% year-over-year.

"As anticipated, the housing market was disrupted by the closure of the federal government in October, which prolonged the loan approval process and led to the delay of many home closings, especially on FHA transactions," said Kevin Brown, the association's 2014 president.

Home prices also saw a decline and Fresno didn't fare well on this one. The median home price of an existing house in Fresno County fell to $182,620 in October compared to $185,830 in September. Statewide, the median home price declined to $427,290 last month compared to $428,740 the month before.

"As we enter the slower home buying season, we expect home prices to be capped by seasonal factors and annual price gains to continue to taper off in the coming months," said Leslie Appleton-Young, vice president and chief economist.

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