| ||Sales Volume||Median Price|
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.