Here's the meat of the Dec DataQuick report.
A total of 19,926 new and resale homes sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 19.2 percent from 16,720 for November, and up 50.5 percent from 13,240 for December 2007, according to MDA DataQuick.
Regionwide, foreclosure resales accounted for 55.7 percent of December's resales activity, up from 54.7 percent in November, and up from 24.3 percent in December 2007.
A total of 1,813 newly-built homes were sold in December, easily the lowest number for that month in DataQuick's statistics. The December average since 1988 is 4,926. In December 2005 a total of 8,723 new homes were sold.
"The builders are in a holding pattern, staying alive until the market recovers. Mortgage interest rates last month were near record lows. Of course, that doesn't mean much if the money isn't actually being lent. It does look like the spigot is being opened a little bit, at least for low-cost home purchases," said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.
The most active lenders to Southland home buyers right now are Countrywide, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. MDA DataQuick will report more extensively on the home financing market next month.
The median price paid for a Southland home was $278,000 last month. That was down 2.5 percent from $285,000 for November, and down 34.6 percent from $425,000 for December a year ago. The median reached $505,000 in mid 2007.
Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity waned in early fall but is edging higher again and remains near record levels, while financing with adjustable-rate mortgages is at an all-time low, as is financing with multiple mortgages. Down payment sizes and flipping rates are stable, non-owner occupied buying activity appears flat overall but is above-average in some markets, MDA DataQuick reported.
Riverside's median fell from $220k in Nov to $209k in Dec. That is a whopping 5% in one month!
SanBerdu's median fell from $185K to $180k, and that's a healthy 3% in one month.
Some of that fall is surely due to the high percentage of low end properties that are selling but none the less that's a pretty stunning monthly drop.