Southern California home sales fell 11.9% in July
Home sales in Southern California fell 11.9% in July as the job market continued to slow, forcing potential buyers out of the market, DataQuick said Monday. The La Jolla, Calif.-based real estate data firm noted 18,090 new and existing home sales in Southern California last month, down from 20,532 in June. The data includes sales from the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange. Sales fell 4.5% from July of last year in the southern part of the Golden State, making it the smallest year-over-year decline in the region in 13 years. Part of the downturn is tied to a severe drop off in the market for home valued at $500,000 and higher. "The latest sales figures look a bit worse than they really are, given this July was a fairly short month, but they still suggest some potential homebuyers got spooked," said DataQuick president John Walsh. "Reports on the economy became increasingly downbeat and, no doubt, some people fretted over the possibility the country would default on its obligations." Walsh points out last month's sales were not much worse compared the year earlier when the homebuyer tax credit first expired. The median home sale price in Southern California fell a 0.7% in July, dropping to $283,000 to $285,000. Meanwhile, year-over-year, the median price fell 4.1% from $295,000 a year ago. To date, the median is 14.6% higher than the trough mark of $247,000 in April of 2009, but it's still under the peak median of $505,000 in the middle of 2007. Last month, home sales fell in every price level, with high-end sales experiencing the deepest slide with the number of home sales dropping 20.5% in the $800,000-and-above price level. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.