A total of 19,926 new and resale homes and condos sold in the Southland last month, a 19.2 percent increase from November and more than double the number sold during the same period a year earlier, DataQuick reported.
In hard-hit Riverside County, resales nearly tripled from a year ago, with just under 70 percent previously foreclosed on.
Conversely, home sales in Southland metro and prestigious coastal markets were down from a year ago, indicating soft demand for anything other than distressed property.
Foreclosure resales accounted for 55.7 percent of December’s resale activity, up from 54.7 percent in November and 24.3 percent a year ago.
Meanwhile, only 1,813 newly constructed homes were sold in December, nowhere close to the December average of 4,926, and a stark contrast from the 8,723 sold in December 2005.
“The builders are in a holding pattern, staying alive until the market recovers,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president, in a release. “Mortgage interest rates last month were near record lows.”
“Of course, that doesn’t mean much if the money isn’t actually being lent. It does look like the spigot is being opened a little bit, at least for low-cost home purchases.”
The median price paid for a Southland home was $278,000 last month, down 2.5 percent from November and 34.6 percent from December 2007, when it stood at $425,000.
On average, Southland buyers committed themselves to a monthly mortgage payment of $1,239 in December, down from $1,380 a month ago and $2,060 a year ago.