Home sales in California fell 30.1 percent in August compared to a year earlier, the most dramatic annual decline since 1982, it was reported on Monday.
"We experienced the greatest year-to-year sales decline last month since August 1982, when sales fell 30.4 percent," said California Association of Realtors (CAR) President Vince Malta.
"This is another indication that we're in the initial stages of a long-anticipated adjustment in the market. Buyers today have a much greater selection of properties from which to choose, while some sellers are still clinging to price expectations that are no longer valid in today's market."
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes totaled 442,150 in August, versus 632,240 a year earlier, according to information CAR acquired from more than 90 Realtor associations statewide.
But, at 576,360 U.S. dollars, the average median price statewide of an existing home was still up 1.6 percent compared to August 2005, a trend that is not expected to continue.
"Although the median price in the state and in several regions hit an all-time record in August, we expect softer prices toward the end of the year," said Leslie Appleton-Young, the association's chief economist.
"The median price typically peaks somewhere between June and August before declining toward the end of the year,'' she said.
"Some areas of the state already have experienced year-to-year declines for more than two months. This is in stark contrast to the past several years when there were constant double-digit increases. The long-term trend remains to be seen."
Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported that the pace of existing home sales declined nationwide for a fifth straight month, and prices from year-ago levels tumbled for the first time since April 1995.
In California last month, there was a 6.8-month supply of existing, single-family homes for sale, compared with 2.6 months a year earlier. And it was taking a median 52 days to sell a home compared with 29 in August 2005, CAR reported.