In Depth Analysis: CalculatedRisk Newsletter on Real Estate (Ad Free) Read it here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DataQuick: SoCal Home Sales decline year-over-year, Record investor buying

by Calculated Risk on 1/17/2012 01:35:00 PM

This report is only for Southern California, but it contains useful information for analyzing the housing market. Over half the sales in SoCal were distressed in December (foreclosures and short sales), over one quarter of the sales were to absentee owners (usually investors), and new home sales were at a record low in December. Note: DataQuick reports new home sales at closing and the Census Bureau reports when contracts are signed - so this is for contracts signed last six months ago.

From DataQuick: Southland December Home Sales, Prices Fall Short of a Year Earlier

Southern California home sales surged last month from November – as they normally do – amid relatively strong activity under $300,000 and a record share of sales to “absentee” buyers, mainly investors. ... A total of 19,247 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in December. That was up 14.0 percent from 16,884 in November but down 1.4 percent from 19,528 in December 2010, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
While December sales of existing (not new) houses and condos combined fell 0.5 percent from a year earlier, sales of newly built homes fell 12.0 percent year-over-year, to the lowest level on record for a December.

“Last year ended much the way it began, with pitifully low new-home sales, record investor activity, drum-tight credit, and lots of potential buyers and sellers just sitting tight,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
Distressed property sales accounted for 52.5 percent of the Southland resale market last month, up from 51.2 percent in November but down from 53.8 percent a year earlier. Nearly one out of three homes resold last month was a foreclosure, while about one in five was a “short sale.”
Absentee buyers, mainly investors and vacation-home buyers, purchased a record 26.4 percent of the Southland homes sold in December, paying a median $200,000. ... The December absentee figure was up from 25.1 percent in November and up from 23.4 percent a year earlier.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) will report December existing home sales on Friday. The consensus is for sales of 4.6 million on seasonally adjusted annual rate basis.

Economist Tom Lawler estimates the NAR will report sales of 4.64 million, up about 5% from November’s pace. He also expects the NAR to report inventory declined to around 2.44 million, down 5.4% from November and down 19.2% from last December. This would put months-of-supply at around 6.3 months (lowest since early 2006), and would put listed inventory at the lowest level since early-2005.