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Source: DataQuick
Date: 8/18/2008
Authors: DataQuick

News Bite

Southland home sales post annual gain -- prices drop again

The number of Southern California homes sold last month edged up to its highest level in more than a year as bargain hunters swept up foreclosure properties in affordable neighborhoods, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick. A total of 20,329 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 16.7 percent from 17,424 the previous month and up 13.8 percent from 17,867 for July a year ago, MDA DataQuick reported.

Last month's sales count was the highest since 21,856 homes were sold in March 2007, though it still fell 23 percent short of the average July sales total since 1988, when MDA DataQuick's statistics begin. From last September through June, sales for each month were at an all-time low for that particular calendar month, with the exception of April which was the next lowest. Last month's sales total was the first since September 2005 to rise above the year-ago level.

The median price paid for a Southland home was $348,000 last month, down 2.0 percent from $355,000 in June and down 31.1 percent from $505,000 for July 2007. That peak of $505,000 was reached in March, April, May and July of last year. The median has fallen because of depreciation, especially in inland markets, and because of the steep drop off in home financing in the so-called jumbo category, which until recently was defined as loans above $417,000.

Foreclosure resales continue to be a dominant factor in today's Southern California market, accounting for 43.6 percent of all resales. That was up from a revised 41.8 percent in June, and up from 7.9 percent in July 2007. Foreclosure resales -- where a foreclosure had occurred at some point in the prior 12 months -- ranged from 22.2 percent of all resales in Orange County last month to 64.4 percent in Riverside County.

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