Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SoCal Home Sales Highest Level this Year

by Bill McBride on 11/18/2008 01:55:00 PM

From DataQuick: Southland October home sales climb to highest level of the year

Southern California home sales rose unseasonably last month from September as buyers shook off gloomy financial news and took advantage of often-steep discounts. The median sale price fell to $300,000 - a 67-month low - as foreclosures once again accounted for half of all resales ...

Fueled by lower prices, Southland sales have risen on a year-over-year basis for four consecutive months, breaking a 33-month streak of annual declines.
...
"You could easily imagine a meaningful decline in sales last month, given the seasonal norm and the dire financial news that potential buyers had to ponder in September. But we have yet to see any big, sudden drop in the number of transactions closing escrow. It tells us there were a lot of very serious buyers in the market during late summer and early fall - buyers who consider housing a relatively good buy or investment," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

Last month's record annual sales increase reflects two things: Very weak sales a year ago on the heels of the August credit crunch and earlier subprime meltdown, and this year's big sales gains in inland markets where prices have fallen 30 percent or more. Depreciation in such areas has triggered record foreclosures, which tend to sell at a discount, attracting bargain hunters.

Fifty-one percent of existing homes that closed escrow in October were foreclosed on at some point in the prior 12 months. That's up from a revised 50.0 percent in September and 16.0 percent in October 2007.