Tuesday, April 17, 2012

DataQuick: Socal Home Sales increased slightly in March year-over-year

by Bill McBride on 4/17/2012 04:38:00 PM

From DataQuick: Southland Home Sales Up; Median Price Almost Back to Year-Ago Level

Southern California home sales shot up last month from February amid the usual surge in late-winter shopping, but the gain over a year earlier was modest.
...
A total of 19,953 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 28.1 percent from 15,573 in February, and up 2.8 percent from 19,412 in March 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

... On a year-over-year basis, Southland sales have increased for three consecutive months, and for seven out of the last eight months. However, last month’s Southland sales total was still 18.6 percent below the average for all the months of March since 1988.
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“The year is young and lots could still change, but the results from the first big sales month of 2012 suggest the market is stuck in low gear. This remains a very gradual – not to mention fragile – recovery. Last month's big gain in sales from February was seasonal. A lot more people get out and shop after the holidays and as spring approaches. More telling was the relatively small gain in sales activity compared with a year ago. It's a reminder that, for many potential buyers, lower prices and amazingly low mortgage rates still aren’t enough to get them over their hurdles: tight credit, home values below what they owe on their mortgages, and uncertainties over the economy and home prices,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
And on distressed sales:
Distressed sales – the combination of foreclosure resales and “short” sales – made up about half of last month’s resale market.

Foreclosure resales – properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 31.1 percent of the resale market last month, down from 32.1 percent in February and down from 36.0 percent a year earlier. Last month’s figure was the lowest since foreclosure resales were 28.6 percent of the resale market in January 2008. In the current cycle, the figure hit a high of 56.7 percent in February 2009.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 18.9 percent of Southland resales last month. That compares with 20.4 percent the month before and 18.5 percent a year earlier.
Distressed sales are very high at about 50% of the market, but the percentage is down from 54.5% a year ago. Cash purchasers accounted for 31.7% of all purchases (frequently investor buying).

The NAR will report March existing home sales on Thursday.

Note: I usually ignore the median prices because it is impacted by changes in the mix of homes sold.

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