Home sales rise slightly in parts of California

LA JOLLA
September 16, 2011 12:17pm
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•  Prices flat to down

•  ‘Others who want to make a move now are stuck because they owe more than their homes are worth’


Home sales in the Bay Area and the Los Angeles-San Diego region increased in August, according to real estate information company DataQuick, a La Jolla-based subsidiary of TPG Capital of Fort Worth, Texas.

But the increase was less than robust. “The pace was still well below average,” DataQuick says.

The company did not release figures for other parts of California, including the Central Valley.

In the Bay Area, the median price paid for a home dropped below the year-ago level for the 11th consecutive month as distressed property sales claimed around half of the resale market, according to DataQuick.

A total of 7,513 new and resale houses and condos sold in the nine-county Bay Area last month. That was up 9.1 percent from 6,887 in July and up 12.2 percent from 6,698 in August 2010, according to DataQuick.

A sales gain from July to August is normal for the season, with that increase averaging 3.4 percent since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. August sales have varied from a low of 6,688 in August 1992 to a high of 13,940 in 2004. Last month’s sales fell 22.4 percent below the average August sales tally of 9,682.

Southern California home sales rose in August above the July and year-earlier level, the result of seasonal forces, a relatively high number of business days this August and “continued robust bottom-feeding,” says DataQuick.

Prices appeared to be trending sideways to downward in the Southland, with the region’s overall median sale price dipping below a year earlier for the sixth consecutive month, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 19,654 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in August. That was up 8.6 percent from 18,090 in July and up 6.0 percent from 18,541 in August 2010, according to DataQuick.

On average, sales between July and August have risen 3.4 percent since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics begin. August sales have varied from a low of 16,379 in 1992 to a high of 39,562 in 2003. Last month’s sales count was 26.6 percent below the August average of 26,761 sales since 1988.

August was the first month since June 2010 to post a year-over-year gain in home sales.

Last month was also the first since November 2009 in which all six Southland counties logged higher sales than a year earlier. One reason it’s getting easier to beat the year-ago sales numbers: Home sales fell off sharply last summer after federal and state homebuyer tax credits expired.

Last month’s sales picture changes when viewed in terms of the average number of homes sold daily. Last month had 23 business days (the most for any August since 2007) on which home sales could be recorded, compared with 20 business days in July and 22 in August 2010.

“Scratch beneath the surface and there’s not a lot to cheer about this month,” says John Walsh, DataQuick president.

“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,” he says. “Financial markets are increasingly choppy, the political outlook is incredibly murky and consumer confidence remains poor. Needless to say, it’s not an environment ripe for stabilizing the housing market.”


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FirstCapital 9/23/11 3:06 PM
During the housing boom, a massive inventory of new homes was created in areas such as Las Vegas, Florida and areas of Southern California. Many of these new homes were built on speculation, but no buyers ever materialized. The market is still trying to work through the surplus and construction workers are suffering the consequences. The median price paid for a California home last month was $249,000, down 1.2 percent from $252,000 in July, and down 4.2 percent from $260,000 for August a year ago. The year-over-year decrease was the 11th in a row after 11 months of increases. The bottom of the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009, while the peak was $484,000 in early 2007. Distressed property sales continued to make up more than half of California's resale market last month.














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