Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Southern California Housing Market - 10:08 am

September 14, 2011
Southern California home sales rose in August but prices declined

Southern California’s housing market showed some signs of life in August, with sales increasing (though that was mostly because of the calendar), but prices continued to fall.

Sales were up 8.6% from the month before and 6.0% from August 2010 with a total of 19,654 properties selling across the six-county Southland in August, according to DataQuick of San Diego. The jump in sales was driven by the fact that the month had more business days than are typical for an August, the real estate information firm reported.

The region’s median home sale price fell 1.4% from the prior month and 3.1% from August 2010 to hit $279,000.

“Scratch beneath the surface and there’s not a lot to cheer about this month. Home sales were up from a year earlier but remained far below average,” DataQuick President John Walsh said in a statement. “Many would-be buyers can’t find financing, and others who want to make a move now are stuck because they owe more than their homes are worth.”

Sales of foreclosed homes made up 34.6% of the resale market last month, up from 34.5% in July but down from 37.6% a year earlier. Short sales, where a lender allowed a home to be sold for less than the value of the outstanding mortgage, made up 17.9% of the market, up from 17.3% a month earlier and 18.9% a year earlier.

“High unemployment, elevated levels of foreclosure, tighter lending requirements and uncertain economic prospects have weighed on the market, offsetting the allure of low mortgage rates.” First Capital also said in their blog. “Smart homeowners are taking the opportunity to refinance their mortgages and build equity.”

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