SoCal Home Sales Increase Slightly, Median Unchanged

October 13, 2009 No Comments »

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Southern California home sales increased from August to September, a rarity fueled by record low mortgage rates, late-closing summer transactions, and the soon-to-expire homebuyer tax credit, according to DataQuick.

During the month, 21,539 new and resale homes and condos sold in six Southland counties, up 0.2 percent from August and 5.1 percent from a year ago.

It was the 15th consecutive year-over-year sales gain, though last month’s was the slimmest of all those increases.

“There were more than just normal, seasonal forces at work in these September sales numbers,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president, in a release.  “More attempts at short sales, which typically take longer, and new appraisal rules no doubt delayed some deals this summer, causing them to close in September rather than August.”

“September probably also got a boost from people opting to buy sooner rather than later to take advantage of the federal tax credit for first-time buyers, which is set to expire next month.”

The median price held steady at $275,000 last month, but was still 10.9 percent lower than the sales price seen a year earlier, and a far cry from the $505,000 seen during the housing peak in mid-2007.

The good news is foreclosures are accounting for a smaller proportion of resales; just 40.4 percent last month, compared to 41.7 percent in August and 56.7 percent earlier this year.

FHA loans accounted for more than a third of all financing, while jumbo loans and adjustable-rate mortgages continued to play a small hand in home loan lending.

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