Wednesday, September 12, 2007

DataQuick: SoCal home sales at 15-year low

by Bill McBride on 9/12/2007 02:12:00 PM

From DataQuick: SoCal home sales at 15-year low, prices edge down

Home sales in Southern California dropped to their lowest level since 1992 as buyers, sellers and lenders held back in an environment of market uncertainty. Prices are off their peak, markedly so in lower cost neighborhoods, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 17,755 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was down 0.6 percent from 17,867 for the previous month, and down 36.3 percent from 27,857 for August last year, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

Last month's sales were the slowest for any August since 1992, when 16,379 homes sold, the lowest for any August in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988. The strongest August was in 2003, when 39,562 homes sold. The August sales average is 28,160.
For existing homes August typically has more sales than July, so on a seasonally adjusted basis, this report is worse than it appears.

On prices:
The median price paid for a Southland home was $500,000 last month, down 1.0 percent from $505,000 in July, and up 2.7 percent from $487,000 for August last year.

When adjusted for shifts in market mix (i.e. fewer lower-cost homes selling now), year-over-year price changes went negative in January and are now 3.5 percent below year-ago levels.
On foreclosures:
Foreclosure resales accounted for 8.8 percent of August's sales activity, up from 8.3 percent in July, and up from 2.2 percent in August of last year. Foreclosure resales do not yet have a marketwide effect on prices, although foreclosure discounts appear to be emerging in some local Inland Empire and High Desert markets.