Tuesday, November 13, 2012

DataQuick: SoCal Home Sales increase in October

by Bill McBride on 11/13/2012 02:07:00 PM

From DataQuick: Southland Home Sales, Median Price Rise Above Year Ago

Southern California home sales rose sharply in October as move-up buyers joined investors, shifting the mix of homes selling up a notch as foreclosure resales hit a five-year low. ... A total of 21,075 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 18.0 percent from 17,859 sales in September, and up 25.2 percent from 16,829 sales in October 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
The Southland’s lower-cost areas continued to post the weakest sales compared with last year. The number of homes that sold below $200,000 fell 11.2 percent year-over-year, while sales below $300,000 dipped 0.3 percent. Sales in these more affordable markets have been hampered by the slowdown in foreclosure activity, which results in fewer foreclosed properties listed for sale, as well as the high percentage of homeowners who still owe more than their homes are worth, meaning they can’t sell and move on.

Sales rose sharply in most mid- to-higher-cost markets in October. Sales between $300,000 and $800,000 – a range that would include many move-up buyers – jumped 41.5 percent year-over-year. October sales over $500,000 rose 55.2 percent year-over-year, while sales over $800,000 rose 52.4 percent compared with October 2011.

Foreclosure resales – properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 16.3 percent of the Southland resale market last month. That was down from 16.6 percent the month before and 32.8 percent a year earlier. Last month’s level was the lowest since it was 16.0 percent in October 2007. In the current cycle, the foreclosure resales 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 26.0 percent of Southland resales last month. That was down slightly from an estimated 27.6 percent the month before and up from 25.4 percent a year earlier.
The median price is being impacted by the mix, with fewer low end distressed sales pushing up the median. This is why I focus on the repeat sales indexes.

This report shows why we need to focus on the composition of sales (conventional vs. distressed) as opposed to just overall sales. Sales are declining in the high foreclosures areas because the number of foreclosed properties is declining. But sales are now picking up in other areas, and these are mostly conventional sales.

The NAR is scheduled to report October existing home sales and inventory next week on Monday, November 19th.