Third-quarter sales of existing homes in California plunged 11.6% because of a weakening national economy and consumer fear of a recession, a real estate trade group reported today.
The California Assn. of Realtors said the pace of sales in the state, once the hottest housing market in the country, was the slowest since the second quarter of 1985.
"The third-quarter lackluster sales pace was mainly caused by the steep sales decline experienced in September," said Jim Antt Jr., president of the trade group. "Consumer uncertainty about the economy and the impact of the Middle East crisis fueled the decline in September sales."
The quarter featured declines of 10.7% in September and 5.3% in July, sandwiching in a scant 1.6% increase in August.
Nationwide, existing home sales slipped 2.5% from their level a year earlier, the National Assn. of Realtors said. The only region experiencing increased sales was the South, where sales rose 1.4%. Sales fell 8.8% in the West, 8.5% in the Northeast and 1% in the Midwest.