Southern California Home Prices Up

September 16, 2009

Southern California home sales rose for the 11th consecutive month in May as sales of $500,000-plus homes started to come back, according to the real-estate research company MDA Dataquick.

The median price paid increased slightly from the prior month for the first time since July 2007, the result of a shift in market activity where sales of deeply discounted foreclosures waned and mid- to high-end purchases rose, the company said.

A total of 20,775 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties last month. That was up 1.3 percent from 20,514 in April and up 22.8 percent from 16,917 a year ago.

Sales have increased year-over-year for 11 consecutive months.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county Southland last month was $249,000, up 0.8 percent from $247,000 in April. The median price is still down, however, about 32 percent from a year ago.

May’s sales were the highest for that month since May 2006, when 30,303 homes sold, but were 21.2 percent below the average May sales total since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin.

Foreclosure resales – homes sold in May that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 50.2 percent of all Southland resales. That was down from 53.5 percent in April and from a peak of 56.7 percent in February. May’s figure was the lowest since foreclosure resales were 50.9 percent of all resales last October.

The remarkably sharp declines in the Southland’s median sale price over the past year have been exacerbated by a shift toward an above-average number of sales occurring in lower-cost inland markets rife with discounted foreclosures. However, the number of homes lost to foreclosure declined over the winter, leaving fewer for bargain hunters to scoop up this spring. Meantime, sales have begun to rise a bit in many mid- to high-end markets, which could be due at least in part to sellers dropping their asking prices.

Topics California Trends Pricing Trends

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