SoCal Sales Dip 10.8% in August, Says MDA DataQuick

Southern California home sales declined from July to August, but the median price paid for homes continued its four-month-long run of increases, according to MDA DataQuick. There were 21,502 new and resale homes sold in Southern California’s six-county region that includes Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties during August. That is down 10.8% from 24,104 in July, and up 11% from 19,366 in August 2008. It was the 14th month in a row that sales have increased on a year-over-year basis. MDA DataQuick said the monthly decline was unusual in July, as the month historically sees an increase, MDA DataQuick said. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty out there about prices, interest rates and the availability of mortgage money,” said MDA DataQuick president John Walsh. “Additionally, we don’t know if this drop in foreclosure resales is temporary. We’re hearing from public agencies and the banking industry that there’s still a lot of financial distress in the pipeline,” he added. Foreclosure resales’ share of the market declined from 40.7% in July to 38.8% in August. Fewer foreclosure sales helped boost the median price paid for homes to $275,000, up 2.6% from $268,000 in July, but down 16.7% from $330,000 in August 2008, MDA DataQuick said. The month-to-month increases are on a four-month run after the monthly median price fell to a more than seven-year low of $247,000 in April. Government-insured, FHA mortgages made up 37.4 percent of all purchase loans in August, up from 37.0 percent in July and 27.1 percent in August last year, MDA DataQuick said. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) accounted for only 3.9% and jumbo loans accounted for 15.6%. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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