Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The spring bounce that didn't

Dataquick released the March report today. It's surprisingly bad considering all the talk we've been hearing about increased activity and the spring bounce. These numbers are terrible and taken together with the foreclosure numbers will add up to a continued slide in prices. The NAR and the CAR will undoubtedly spin the numbers by putting out a report saying something like "Sales up 18% in March". Of course, they will leave out the fact that they are normally up about 40% or that they are 40% to 50% below last years sales (which were already way down from 05 and 06).

Take note of the Median home price for San Berdu, it's down to $265k. Riverside is very close now to breaking through the $300k barrier. It could happen next month if the current rate of decline continues.

La Jolla, CA--- The onset of spring did little to thaw Southern California's semi-frozen housing market: The seasonal boost in sales between February and March was less than half its normal level and a record low. The weak start to the home buying season also saw another record dive in the median sales price, the result of depreciation, slow sales for higher-priced abodes and growing sales for discounted homes fresh out of foreclosure.

A total of 12,808 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in March. That was up 18.8 percent from 10,777 the previous month but down 41.4 percent from 21,856 in March 2007, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

Over the past 20 years Southland sales have risen by an average of 38 percent between February and March. Last month's 18.1 percent increase from February was the lowest in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988.

March was the seventh consecutive month in which sales have fallen to the lowest level on record for that particular month. On average, March sales have been about twice as high - 25,407 - as last month.

Foreclosure resales - houses sold after being foreclosed on continue to dominate many inland neighborhoods. More than one out of three Southland homes that resold last month, nearly 38 percent, had been foreclosed on at some point in the prior year. This time last year such sales were only 8 percent of the market. At the county level, foreclosure resales ranged from 28.8 percent in Los Angeles County to 56.4 percent in Riverside County.

The median price paid for a Southland home was $385,000 last month, the lowest since $380,000 in April 2004. Last month's median was down 5.6 percent from February's $408,000, and down a record 23.8 percent from $505,000 in February 2007. That peak median of $505,000 was reached several times last spring and summer.

All homes Mar-07 Mar-08 %Chng Mar-07 Mar-08 %Chng
Los Angeles 8,353 4,263 -49.0% $540,000 $440,000 -18.50%
Orange 3,130 1,663 -46.9% $629,000 $506,000 -19.60%
Riverside 3,680 2,691 -26.9% $420,000 $306,250 -27.10%
San Bernardino 2,476 1,534 -38.0% $369,000 $265,000 -28.20%
San Diego 3,218 2,108 -34.5% $490,000 $395,000 -19.40%
Ventura 999 549 -45.0% $566,750 $430,000 -24.10%
SoCal 21,856 12,808 -41.4% $505,000 $385,000 -23.80%

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