SoCal home prices take steepest dive since 2009
Southern California home prices fell 8.2% in May from the year before, the largest decline since September 2009, according to DataQuick. The median sales price paid for new and resold homes in the area was $280,000, the same as the month before. But prices fell from the year before for the third-straight month in May. Roughly 18,400 homes sold in May, holding flat from the month before at a three-year low. Sales were 17.4% lower than one year ago. DataQuick analysts blamed buyer uncertainty, tightened credit lines and still unimproved employment figures for continued struggles in the area. Just one year ago, analysts anticipated sales reaching a four-year high as buyers tried to grab the homebuyer tax credit. But that incentive is gone now. "So here we sit in the market doldrums," said DataQuick President John Walsh. "Two of the more likely sources of fresh wind in the market’s sails would be a pickup in hiring or further home price reductions." Distressed property sales accounted for more than half of the area's resales in May. Roughly one in three home sales was a foreclosure. One in five was a short sale. Cash investors continued to dominate lower-cost neighborhoods. Roughly 29% of Southern California May home sales used cash. "The government stimulus is long gone and some of the fundamental drivers of housing demand have yet to strengthen enough to lift sales to even average levels," Walsh said. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.