Housing market keeps getting better

Southern California home sales were up 14.2 percent in November compared with a year earlier, according to Dataquick, while the median price was $321,000, up 16.7 percent from a year ago. In L.A. County, sales were up 13.3 percent and the median price was $350,000, up 13.6 percent. Sales, both in Socal and L.A., fell slightly from October to November, but that's because of seasonal factors. The basic explanation for what's happening is too much demand, especially in the move-up market, along with too little supply to meet that demand. When properties do go on the market, they're often snapped in a matter of days, sometimes at prices that are higher than asking. Many of the buyers are investors, and many are doing all-cash deals. To give you some idea of how crazy this market has become, November sales over $500,000 rose 47.5 percent year-over-year, while sales over $800,000 rose 46.8 percent. Meanwhile, lower-priced homes have become a smaller share of the market. From press release:

"The government's offered people an amazing gift in the form of extraordinarily low mortgage rates. But that's not the only thing fueling these sales gains. Investor activity and cash purchases remain unusually high, and more buyers feel confident about their jobs, the economy, and the likelihood housing prices have bottomed and are likely to rise. We're also seeing more non-distressed sales, where people sell at a profit and buy another house, triggering more move-up activity," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

NOVEMBER HOME SALES (% change from November 2011)
Los Angeles 6,637 +13.3%
Orange 2,879 +25.3%
Riverside 3,274 +10.2%
San Bernardino 2,304 -3.1%
Ventura 820 +31.2%

NOVEMBER MEDIAN PRICE (% change from November 2011)
Los Angeles $350,000 +13.6%
Orange $450,000 +12.5%
Riverside $229,000 +17.4%
San Bernardino $183,000 +17.7%
Ventura $370,000 +5.9%

Source: DataQuick, DQNews.com

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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