Tuesday, January 19, 2010

December's numbers. Median down.

We snapped the streak. Median for Rivy and San Berdu fell in December. Riverside's median sales price slipped 2% down to $196k from $200k in Nov. San Berdu slipped about 6% from $160k down to $154k. Sales numbers were decent though. Falling median is quite normal for this time of year so don't read to much into it.

Sales Volume Median Price
All homes Dec-08 Dec-09 %Chng Dec-08 Dec-09 %Chng
Los Angeles 5,848 7,679 31.3% $320,000 $339,000 5.9%
Orange 2,580 2,885 11.8% $397,000 $435,000 9.6%
Riverside 4,435 4,282 -3.4% $209,000 $196,000 -6.2%
San Bernardino 2,862 2,934 2.5% $180,000 $154,000 -14.4%
San Diego 3,325 3,652 9.8% $300,000 $330,000 10.0%
Ventura 876 896 2.3% $338,000 $360,000 6.5%
SoCal 19,926 22,328 12.1% $278,000 $289,000 4.0%

Here's the DQ report.

Southern California home sales in December remained above year-ago levels for the 18th consecutive month, bolstered by gains in many mid- to high-end communities. The median sale price rose year-over-year for the first time since summer 2007, reflecting a more normal distribution of sales across all price categories, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 22,328 new and resale homes sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 16.4 percent from November’s 19,181, and up 12.1 percent from 19,926 in December 2008, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego.

Sales almost always rise from November to December. Last month’s gain was a bit higher than the average increase of 13 percent since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin.

The December sales tally was the highest for that month since 24,209 homes sold in December 2006, but it was still 11.2 percent below the average for a December – 25,143 sales – over the past 22 years.

The sales pattern has changed a lot over the past year, with many mid-to high-end communities now contributing more transactions.

For example, relatively large annual sales gains were recorded last month in many well-known, higher-end markets including Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Newport Beach – areas that saw very low sales a year ago. Meanwhile, some of the more affordable inland areas that saw robust 2008 sales recorded year-over-year declines last month. Those markets included Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and Palmdale.

The percentage of Southland homes sold above $500,000 last month rose to 20.2 percent of all sales, up from 16.5 percent a year earlier and the highest since it was 23.6 percent in August 2008. On average since 2000, $500,000-plus sales have made up 36.5 percent of total sales. Right before the credit crunch hit in August 2007, making larger “jumbo” mortgages more expensive and harder to obtain, $500,000-plus sales made up about 52 percent of Southland transactions.

More sales in once-dormant high-end communities helps explain last month’s year-over-year gain in the median sale price – the point where half of the homes sold for more, half for less.

The median paid for all Southland houses and condos sold in December was $289,000, up 1.4 percent from $285,000 in November and up 4 percent from $278,000 a year earlier. The last time the median increased year-over-year was in August 2007, when it rose 2.7 percent to $500,000, near its peak.

The median has increased or held steady for eight consecutive months, but in December it was still 42.8 percent lower than the peak Southland median of $505,000 reached during several months in early and mid 2007. In late 2008 and early 2009, the monthly declines in the median from a year earlier ranged from 30 to 40 percent.

December’s foreclosure resales remained well below peak levels but were still a large force in the market, edging higher than the prior month for the first time since last February. Foreclosure resales – houses and condos sold in December that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – were 39.6 percent of resales, up from 39.0 percent in November but down from 53.5 percent in December 2008. They hit a high of 56.7 percent last February, then tapered or leveled off month-to-month until last month’s uptick.


Oldtimer said...

In historical, inflation-adjusted terms, home prices in the IE are now between average and cheap.

Versus a home in Anaheim, I'd want a discount for commuting 90 minutes each way to work. Half-off should do it.

golfer_X said...

That's only because interest rates are low. Mediam price compared to median income is still higher than the long term average of 2.6. In terms of monthly payments though the cost is definately below the average. If you are buying long term it's good. If you need to move in 5 years and rates shoot back up you could end up in a pickle.

Oldtimer said...

I don't believe median income statistics reflect real purchasing power for homebuyers in Southern California.

The figure hasn't moved much since 1990, but salaries for teachers, cops, accountants, administrative assistants, bus drivers, etc. are up 30-40% since then.

What gives? Here is my guess. SoCal has seen its unskilled laborer class growing by leaps and bounds. That keeps the median income flat, but the number of teachers, cops, accountants, etc. that can afford homes keeps growing.

I agree that home prices need to reflect what people can afford to pay, but I don't think that has been flat since 1990.

ojedalive said...

Is a short sale somethign worth considering in this market. I noticed there seem to be quite many more short sales of the type of home we want compared to regular sales or foreclousres.

How long can the process take and at what point are you stuck in the process and when can you back out?

golfer_X said...

Short sales are worth pursuing. The banks are better these days but it can still take 2 or 3 months to hear if the bank has accepted if the sale amount is not already approved (and few are). You can back out until you are in escrow and that will not happen until the bank gives the approval. Some realtors will ask for a check and will want you to go into a long escrow so that you don't keep looking. They are afraid you will find another deal after a couple of months and bail on them.

Most of the decent homes are listed as short sales right now. If you don't consider them your choices are very limited.

ojedalive said...

X, I'm just curios as to whether you had made any short sale offers or looked into that. You seem to be on top of your game.

I don't mind locking myself into one home if I could be sure that it wasn't a waste of time. It is a huge opportunity cost if it is not concrete because then I miss out on the non-short sale homes. I might open myself up to short sales but only where they are not asking me to put money down prior to everything being approved on the banks side.

Allison said...

OJ - If you find a short sale you like and make an offer, don't stop looking at other homes. Unless the bank responds quickly (never going to happen) you are free to purchase another home if you find one. You are not locked in until much farther along in the process.

We made an offer on a short sale, and it took 3 months to get the bank to accept. We still ended up canceling one week before closing because the home had too many problems. We got our full earnest money back - no harm done.

So if you have time to wait for a short sale, go for it. But keep looking at those other sales and make an offer on those while waiting for the short.

ojedalive said...

Thank you for the information. That makes total sense. I don't want to be at home sitting in my prom dress waiting for the short sale to complete only to find out it might not happen :)

golfer_X said...

I've made a few short sale offers. I'm sitting as a backup on one short sale currently and I just lost one to a cash buyer.

There's never a guarantee with short sales. You can wait months and have the bank say no thanks. As long as the listing agent has short sale experience you should be fine. If the agent has not done any or only one or two you might want to think twice. Also try to find out if they are dealing with one or multiple lenders. A single lender is easier.

They are getting easier to complete. Banks and realtors are getting better and quicker at dealing with shorts. Now the government is pushing short sales and offering the banks incentives to complete them quickly.

ojedalive said...

When is the government Short Sale program supposed to kick in?

zellaam said...

X - Where are you?

golfer_X said...

Still, kicking, just been totally burned out. And I really screwed up my back so I've been laying around trying to nurse that back to health. Not a lot of news these days anyway. The market seems like it's seized up with all the loan mod BS. Decent homes are few and far between. Even the realtors I talk too are bitching about the mess. In the last month I've only seen about 6 homes hit the market that I would even consider looking at. Man it's slow out there.....