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Buzz: In the pandemic era, California home-seekers not only had to choose from far more expensive homes, but the size of what’s on the market shrank.
Source: My trusty spreadsheet and I reviewed Realtor.com statistics on the median size of listings and prices per square foot of homes on the market. We focused on the annual averages by state for the first 10 months of 2022 and how they compare to pre-pandemic 2019 and 2021 results.
The typical California residence for sale this year was 1,750 square feet. That’s 104 square feet less than what was for sale before the 2019 pandemic — or 6% less.
At the same time, the cost of this living space has skyrocketed. California listings average $444 per square foot this year, up 40% from 2019.
The pandemic’s work-at-home and school-at-home lifestyles led to a demand for larger apartments. So it makes sense that smaller homes are coming onto the market more frequently.
California home-seekers weren’t the only ones to suffer the less-home-for-more-money humiliation.
California had the 12th smallest average entry this year at 1,750 square feet. The largest homes for sale were in Utah with 2,485 square feet, then Wyoming with 2,244, Colorado with 2,176, Delaware with 2,154 and Georgia with 2,148.
The smallest entries were found in Hawaii at 1,228 square feet, then New York at 1,564, Rhode Island at 1,569, Iowa at 1,578, and Michigan at 1,585.
And compared to 2019, the benchmark listing in California was down 104 square feet, the 28th largest decline in the US
The largest shrinkage was in New York, down 247 square feet in three years, then Illinois by 200, Georgia by 198, Texas by 197, and New Jersey by 193. In fact, 44 states had smaller homes on the market that year compared to the US. three years ago.
The six “growth states,” places with larger entries as of 2019, were Delaware at 138 square feet, then Wyoming at 121, Alaska and Nebraska at 70, Nevada at 10, and New Mexico at six.
This loss of housing makes the rising cost of owning a home even more nagging for buyers. View listings on a price-per-square-foot scale.
California was the second most expensive listing this year at $444 per square foot, followed by Hawaii at $683. Third went to Massachusetts with $379, New York with $353 and Washington with $326.
The cheapest deals were in West Virginia at $114 per square foot, followed by Mississippi at $123, Ohio at $127, Kansas at $131, and Arkansas at $133.
The real pain comes when we compare these price increases to 2019.
California’s list price per square foot is up 40% — and that’s only its 24th highest jump. Montana led the way with 80%, then Idaho with 70%, Utah with 64%, New York with 62% and Tennessee with 56%.
The smallest gains in three years were found in North Dakota at 23%, then in Louisiana and West Virginia at 24%, Maryland at 25%, and Mississippi at 26%.
In 2022 it will be back to the office for many and back to the classroom for the kids. Add rising mortgage rates and a home purchase cooldown. Now the less-for-more pace has slowed.
The typical 2022 California listing was just 12 square feet smaller than the 2021 size. And 32 states have larger homes for sale this year.
Also, list prices in California for 2022 are up just 2%, the smallest increase among states. New York was up 3%, Illinois and Massachusetts were up 5% and Michigan were up 6%.
The largest migrations per square foot are in Montana at 25%, Wyoming at 22%, Tennessee and South Dakota at 20%, and Kansas at 19%.
Jonathan Lansner is a business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]