Home sales rebound in Southern Cal: DataQuick
Southern California home sales in June shot up to the highest level for any month since June 2010, when the market got its last boost from homebuyer tax credits. Sales of lower-cost homes, driven by investors and first-time buyers fared better than traditional move-up activity in middle price ranges, according to a report Tuesday from DataQuick. The report indicates that aspirational homeownership is also waning in the region. A total of 20,532 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in June, up 11.6% from 18,394 in May but down 14% from 23,871 in June 2010, according to the San Diego-based firm. On average, sales between May and June have risen 6.2% since 1988, when DataQuick's began tracking the numbers. June sales have varied from a low of 18,032 in 2008 to a high of 40,156 in 2005. June is generally the most robust month for home sales. In June 2010, the homebuyer tax credit (now expired) bolstered the numbers. "The housing market remains dysfunctional and lopsided, just somewhat less so than it was a few months or a year ago," said said John Walsh, DataQuick president. Qualifying for a mortgage remains difficult, and the use of some mortgage products, namely adjustable-rate and jumbo loans, remains below the historical norm, he said. The median price paid for all new and resale Southern California houses and condos purchased last month was $285,000, up 1.8% from $280,000 in May and the highest since $290,000 last December, but still down 5% from $300,000 in June 2010. Last month’s median was 15.4% higher than the median’s low point in the current real estate cycle — $247,000 in April 2009 — but was 43.6% lower than the peak $505,000 median in mid 2007. At play in the peak-to-trough drop is the decline in home values coupled with a shift toward sales of lower-priced homes, including real-estate owned properties. The median price is also suppressed by abnormally low sales of newly built homes, which typically sell for more than resale homes, DataQuick said. Sales behaved differently depending on the price segment. They rose 6.3% from May for homes priced below $200,000 and were virtually unchanged in the $800,000-plus range. But June sales fell 4.9% from May in the $300,000 to $800,000 range, where many move-up transactions occur. On a year-over-year basis, home sales fell across virtually all price categories last month, but declines were greatest in the $300,000 to $800,000 range, which saw sales drop 25.5% from June 2010. Distressed property sales accounted for just over half of the Southern California resale market last month. Roughly one out of three homes resold was in REO status, while almost one in five was a “short sale.” Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.