Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another record price drop

The median price continues to plummet. In Riverside it has fallen 5% in the last month from $260k in July to $247k in August. In San Berdu the drop was 6.5%, from $230k in July to $215k in August. As you can see sales are much better than last year BUT last year was the worst since they began keeping records and this 30% below average. The only reason that sales number looks good is because they are comparing it to last year.

Here's the August Report from DataQuick.

Southern California home sales downshifted slightly in August from July, but were higher than a year ago for the second consecutive month. The median sales price continued to tumble, declining the most where buyers were the most active, a real estate information service reported.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties was $330,000 last month, down 5.2 percent from $348,000 in July and down a record 34 percent from $500,000 in August 2007, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.

Last month's median stood at the lowest point since November 2003 when it was also $330,000. The median peaked at $505,000 in the spring and summer of last year.

"It's the most common and pressing question we hear from Wall Street and Main Street: When will the housing market hit bottom? We see tentative signs that sales - not prices - have hit bottom in some inland markets. That's where home values have fallen the most, stoking a lot more demand," said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.

"Some expect prices to bottom out soon, too," he continued. "That may happen, but history suggests that few of us will time the bottom precisely. Foreclosure activity remains high, credit is still tight, affordability remains strained on the coast and the job market is soft. Our take remains that a lot of buyers and sellers who don't have to act now are just sitting tight, holding out for a better time to make their move."

A total of 19,366 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in Southern California last month. That was down 4.7 percent from 20,329 in July but up 9.1 percent from 17,755 in August 2007.

August's sales total was 30 percent lower than the average for that month and marked the third-lowest for any August since 1988, when MDA DataQuick's statistics begin. August sales peaked in 2003 at 39,562.

Sales have picked up most - sometimes at double or more last year's pace - in inland communities where home values have plummeted and foreclosures have soared. Foreclosure resales made up 45.5 percent of all Southland resales last month, up from 43.7 in July and 10 percent a year ago. The figure represents the percentage of homes resold in August that had been foreclosed on at some point in the prior 12 months.

Foreclosure resales were highest in Riverside County, at 65.2 percent of resales, and lowest in Orange County, at 33.4 percent.