Home/Mortgages/Southern California Home Sales Fall in April

May 22, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Monthly sales of new and existing homes in Southern California fell from March to April while home prices posted their first year-over-year increase in 16 months 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 19,284 new and re-sale homes in April, a 3.4 percent decline from the 19,953 homes sold in March but still 5.1 percent higher than the 18,344 homes sold in April of last year.

Home sales in the area typically increase about one percent between March and April and were 21.0 percent below the historical average for the month of April. Despite the monthly decline in sales, it was eighth time in the last nine months that year-over-year sales have seen an increase.

Cash buyers accounted for 31.5 percent of the homes sold for the month, down from 32.4 percent the previous month. Cash buyers paid a median price of $225,000 for their purchases, up from $215,000 the previous month.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 27.8 percent of all sales in April, down from 28.2 percent in March, and they paid a median price of $220,000 for the homes they purchased, up from $212,000 the previous month.

The median sales price paid for all new and re-sale homes in the Southern California region increased 3.6 percent in April to $290,000 from $280,000 in March. The median price a year ago was also $280,000.

It was the first time in 16 months that year-over-year home prices have increased in the Southern California area.

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 April 2009.

John Walsh, president of DataQuick, stated, “The housing market continued its painfully slow crawl back toward normalcy last month. You can see it in the fading role of foreclosures, the uptick in median prices here and there, and the higher levels of sales in coastal counties.”

Distressed properties accounted for 47.0 percent of the re-sale market in March, down from 50.4 percent in March, with foreclosures accounting for 28.6 percent of the re-sale market, down from 31.5 percent in March, while short sales made up an estimated 18.4 percent of re-sales, down from 18.9 percent the previous month.

Distressed property sales were at their lowest level since April 2008 as foreclosure re-sales have fallen over 50 percent since their high of 56.7 percent of all re-sales in February 2009.

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