April 15, 2011 (Shirley Allen)
Distressed property sales made up 57 percent of California’s resale market last month according real estate tracker DataQuick. Of those sales, 39.3 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year, which was down from 40.1 percent in February and down from 40.3 percent in March.

The Golden State did have some good news though, as an estimated 36,417 new and resale houses and condos were sold in March which was up 33.3 percent from February, but down 2.4 percent from a year ago.

The median price paid for a home in March was $249,000, which was up 2.0 percent from February when the median price was $244,000. The median price was 2.4 percent lower than the $255,000 observed in March the previous year.

Short sales dropped slightly, making up an estimated 17.6 percent of resale’s last month, which was slightly lower than the 18.8 percent observed in February. Short sales a year ago were also the same as in February.

Meanwhile, in Southern California, home sales continued to show lackluster results with a total of 19,412 new and resale houses and condos sold in the Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange county areas in March. That was up 35.1 percent from February but down 5.2 percent from a year ago.

Sales of newly built homes in the Southland hit a record low with 1,144 sales recorded. DataQuick noted that was the lowest March total since they started recording statistics back in 1988. By comparison, during the housing peak in 2006, 7,205 new home sales were recorded.

“As an indicator of upcoming trends, the month of March is actually pretty reliable. We got off to a slow start with sales this year and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. Two of the likely game changers in the short run would be a surge in job creation or another round of price corrections,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. “The foreclosure issue is going to be with us for a good while. But mortgage availability, or rather the lack thereof, is key. If a well-crafted home loan program comes down the pike, it’s going to make some lending institution the dominant player, at least for a while.”

Foreclosure resale’s made up 36.4 percent of the market in March, down from 37 percent in February. Investors and second home purchasers bought 26 percent of the homes sold in March, down slight from February’s 26.4 percent.

DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

Tags: DataQuick, California, home sales, new and resale, houses and condos, distressed property sales, foreclosures, median sale price

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