SoCal Home Prices End Two Year Slide

December 15, 2009 No Comments »

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Southern California home prices last month were unchanged from a year ago, the first time there hasn’t been a year-over-year decline since September 2007, according to DataQuick.

The median price paid for a home in the Southland last month was $285,000, a 1.8 percent increase from October.

Of course, the median is still 43.6 percent below the peak of $505,000 seen back in early and mid 2007, before the mortgage crisis got in full swing.

A total of 19,181 new and resale homes and condos sold in six Southland counties during the month, down from 22,132 in October, but 14.7 percent higher than the 16,720 sales seen a year ago.

DataQuick said sales have been pushed higher thanks to the first-time homebuyer tax credit, the record low mortgage rates, and “robust investor activity.”

“This market is still really lopsided. Foreclosures and short sales are huge factors,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president, in a release.

“There’s still not a lot of discretionary buying and selling outside the more affordable markets. Anybody who can sit tight is doing just that. The market won’t fully rebalance itself until financing becomes available for the higher price ranges.”

Jumbo mortgages accounted for just 15 percent of all home purchases, compared to roughly 40 percent during the housing boom.

Meanwhile, adjustable-rate mortgages were used to finance only 4.1 percent of last month’s home sales; between 2000 and 2005, nearly half of Southland buyers chose ARMs.

FHA loans were used by 38.1 percent of buyers, the same as in October, and up from 34.5 percent a year ago.

Foreclosure resales made up only 39.1 percent of all Southland resales, the lowest total since May 2008; it was as high as 56.7 percent last February.

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