Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DataQuick: SoCal Home Sales highest for November in Six Years

by Bill McBride on 12/12/2012 06:53:00 PM

From DataQuick: More Year-Over-Year Gains for Southland Home Sales and Prices

Southern California’s housing market continued its gradual recovery last month, logging the highest November sales in six years amid strong demand from investors and move-up buyers. ... total of 19,285 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was down 8.5 percent from 21,075 sales in October, and up 14.2 percent from 16,884 sales in November 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

A decline in sales from October to November is normal for the season. Last month’s sales were the highest for the month of November since 23,005 homes sold in November 2006, though they were 11.3 percent below the November average of 21,730 since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin.
Lower-cost areas again posted the weakest sales compared with last year. The number of homes that sold below $200,000 fell 18.7 percent year-over-year, while sales below $300,000 dipped 7.8 percent. Sales in the more affordable markets have been hampered by the slowdown in foreclosure activity, which results in fewer foreclosed properties listed for sale. Also, lower-cost markets typically have a relatively high percentage of homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth, meaning they can’t sell and move.

Last month foreclosure resales – properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 15.3 percent of the Southland resale market. That was down from 16.3 percent the month before and 31.6 percent a year earlier. Last month’s level was the lowest since foreclosure resales were 13.6 percent of the resale market in September 2007. In the current cycle, 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 26.6 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.

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 - a positive sign for the housing market.  

The NAR is scheduled to report November existing home sales and inventory next week on Thursday, December 20th.