Home/Mortgages/Southern California Home Sales Rebound in May

June 29, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Monthly sales of new and existing homes in Southern California rebounded in May following April’s decline while year-over-year home prices improved for a second consecutive 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 22,192 new and re-sale homes in May, a 15.1 percent gain over the 19,284 homes sold in April and 20.6 percent higher than the 18,394 homes sold in May of last year.

Home sales in the area typically increase about 6.7 percent between April and May but were still 14.5 percent below the historical average for the month of May. Year-over-year, home sales have increased for the last five months and nine out of the last ten months..

Cash buyers accounted for 31.3 percent of the homes sold for the month, down from 32.2 percent the previous month. Cash buyers paid a median price of $232,500 for their purchases, up from $225,000 the previous month.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 27.0 percent of all sales in May, down from 28.4 percent in April, and they paid a median price of $225,000 for the homes they purchased, up from $220,000 the previous month.

The median sales price paid for all new and re-sale homes in the Southern California region increased 1.7 percent in May to $295,000 from $290,000 in April. The median price a year ago was also $280,000.

It was the second 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 May 2009.

John Walsh, president of DataQuick, stated, “The market is being slowly nursed back to health by low interest rates, a modestly improved economy and, we suspect, a widening sense that the housing sector is at or near bottom. There’s still plenty of uncertainty swirling around out there. But it looks like more move-up buyers are concluding it makes sense in the long run to sell their homes now, even when it’s hard to swallow the price. The upside for many is a good deal on the next house, and the ability to lock in both a killer mortgage rate and a relatively low property tax base.”

Distressed properties accounted for 44.8 percent of the re-sale market in April, down from 46.9 percent in April, with foreclosures accounting for 26.7 percent of the re-sale market, down from 28.8 percent in April, while short sales made up an estimated 18.1 percent of re-sales, unchanged from the previous month.

Distressed property sales were at their lowest level since March of 2008 as foreclosure re-sales have fallen more than 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