Southern California Home Prices Improve Despite Big Sales Drop

October 24, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Home prices in the Southern California region continued to climb in September despite a twenty percent drop in home sales during the month according to real estate information provider DataQuick.

Sales in the Southern California region, which includes Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties, totaled 17,859 new and re-sale homes in September, a 20.4 percent decline from the 22,438 homes sold in August and 1.6 percent lower than the 18,149 homes sold in September of last year.

Home sales in the area typically decline about 9.5 percent between August and September and were 25.7 percent below the historical average for the month of September. It was the first time in nine months that home sales did not exceed the previous year’s tally.

Cash buyers accounted for 31.5 percent of the homes sold for the month, down from a revised 32.3 percent the previous month. Cash buyers paid a median price of $245,000 for their purchases, up from $242,000 the previous month.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 27.3 percent of all sales in September, up from a revised 27.2 percent in August, and they paid a median price of $235,000 for the homes they purchased, unchanged from the previous month.

The median sales price paid for all new and re-sale homes in the Southern California region increased 1.9 percent in September to $315,000 from $309,000 in August. The median price a year ago was also $280,000. Increasing demand, a shrinking inventory, low interest rates and a smaller share of distressed property sales have all contributed to the rise in home prices

It was the sixth consecutive month that year-over year home prices have increased in the Southern California area after 16 months of declines.

The highest median sales price for homes in the region during the current housing cycle’s peak was $505,000 in mid-2007 while the lowest was $247,000 in September 2009.

John Walsh, president of DataQuick, stated, “The latest stats suggest unbelievably low mortgage rates and modestly higher consumer confidence continue to put pressure on a supply-starved housing market. We can’t stress enough, though, that the median sale price and other price measures reflect more than just rising home values. There’s been a major change in market mix, meaning fewer low-priced sales, fewer foreclosures re-selling, and more sales in middle and upscale markets.”

Distressed properties accounted for 42.9 percent of the re-sale market in September, down from 45.4 percent in August, with foreclosures accounting for 16.4 percent of the re-sale market, down from 19.2 percent in August, while short sales made up an estimated 26.5 percent of re-sales, up from 26.2 percent the previous month.

Tags: Southern California real estate, new homes, re-sale homes, median price, home sales, investors, absentee buyers

Source:
DataQuick