Business & Economy

California housing market is hot, but sellers aren't listing their homes

Redfin for sale sign
Redfin for sale sign

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The California Association of Realtors says there were fewer homes on the market in March than there were in February.  

The association's chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young said the dip in supply is largely because California homeowners are choosing to stay put to avoid having to start over as buyers, something that many consider to be an expensive trade off.

“There’d be a high price to pay in terms of giving up your mortgage, giving up your tax bases — and ... fighting other buyers,” said Appleton-Young, who said it's a particularly difficult time to be a buyer in Southern California.

Spring is typically a busy season for the real estate market, and home prices are rising throughout much of the country. But California's low housing supply — coupled with strong demand from interested buyers — has made for short list times, multiple offers and bidding wars, where homes are often sold for more than the asking price. 

In Los Angeles, 76 percent of houses had multiple offers in March. In Orange County, that number was 64 percent, and in San Diego, 70 percent, according to Redfin.

“There’s just a huge impediment for people to make a change at this point," said Appleton-Young. "So they’re staying put and rehabbing and remodeling again instead of listing and moving.”