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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

DataQuick: SoCal Home Sales "Jump" in July, Fewest Foreclosures since 2007

by Calculated Risk on 8/14/2013 04:24:00 PM

CR Note: So far the regional data suggests a strong increase for existing home sales in July. If so, my guess is there was a rush to close while buyers had mortgage rates locked in - and sales will decline in August.

From DataQuick: Southland Home Sales Jump in July

Southern California home sales surged in July, rising to an eight-year high for that month as buyers found more homes for sale. ... A total of 25,419 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 17.6 percent from 21,608 sales in June, and up 23.5 percent from 20,588 sales in July 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

Last month’s sales approached a historically normal level. They were 0.5 percent below the average number of sales – 25,541 – in the month of July since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. Southland sales haven’t been above average for any particular month in more than seven years.

In a sign of continued market confidence, Southern California home buyers continue to put near-record amounts of their own money into residential real estate. In July they paid a total of $5.39 billion out of their own pockets in the form of down payments or cash purchases. That was up from $5.25 billion in June and up from $3.61 billion a year ago.

“July home sales came in very strong, and we think a lot of the increase in activity can be chalked up to a rising inventory of homes for sale. The jump in mortgage rates a couple of months back might have spurred more buying, too. The market continues its rebalancing act, with more and more people who’ve been ‘underwater’ now able to sell their homes at a profit, or at least break even. As the mismatch between supply and demand eases, it will be more difficult for home prices to rise as steeply as we’ve seen over the past year,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

In July foreclosure resales – homes foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 7.8 percent of the Southland resale market. That was down from a revised 9.0 percent the month before and down from 20.7 percent a year earlier. Last month’s foreclosure resale rate was the lowest since it was 7.3 percent in June 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 14.5 percent of Southland resales last month. That was the lowest level since it was 14.1 percent in May 2009. Last month’s short sale figure was down from an estimated 16.1 percent the month before and down from 26.2 percent a year earlier.

Absentee buyers – mostly investors and some second-home purchasers – bought 27.4 percent of the Southland homes sold last month, which is the lowest share for any month this year. Last month’s level was down from 28.6 percent in June and down slightly from 27.5 percent a year earlier.
emphasis added
This is moving in the right direction (fewer distressed sales, fewer absentee buyers). However I expect existing home sales to decline in August after the jump in July.