Socal housing market going nowhere fast

homeprices.jpgWith inventory still on the lean side, October sales for the six-county area were up 5.4 percent from the previous month and down 4.4 percent from a year earlier, according to Dataquick. The median price was basically flat at $383,750 from September and up 21.8 percent from October 2012. Once more, the higher-end properties led the way, while foreclosure resales kept falling. All-cash and absentee buyers continue to decline. The problem, it seems, is not enough people wanting or able to put their homes on the market. Maybe it's still-tentative attitudes about the economy, maybe it's the reluctance to seek another job that would involve moving elsewhere, maybe it's home values that remain better than $100,000 below the peak median price in 2007. Whatever the reason, limited inventory does not make for a healthy real estate market, even though the overall numbers have been improving. From press release:

"Our read on the market is that after playing some rapid catch-up, home prices hit a bit of a mid-summer wall. It took a very specific set of circumstances to trigger price gains of 20 percent or more over the course of a year. We had a pitifully low number of homes for sale, incredibly low mortgage rates and unusually high levels of investor purchases. In recent months each of those drivers has reversed somewhat," said John Walsh, DataQuick president. Walsh said it's still unclear how much the housing market was affected by last month's partial shutdown of the federal government and fears of a default on the national debt. "Given the uptick in home buying between September and October, it would be difficult to argue that the latest sales figures reflect a pullback by home shoppers," Walsh said. "However, we're reporting deals that closed in October; so it's possible it will take another month to pick up on any sort of pronounced sales drop-off triggered by last month's debacle in Washington D.C. Also, mortgage rates drifted lower and the most recent job reports have been decent. Those positives would help offset any negative impacts on housing demand in October."

OCTOBER HOME SALES (% change from October 2012)
Los Angeles 7,038 -3.2%
Orange 2,987 -5.1%
Riverside 3,277 -3.8%
San Bernardino 2,530 -7.1%
Ventura 809 -10.9%
SoCal 20,150 -4.4%

OCTOBER MEDIAN PRICE (% change from October 2012)
Los Angeles $425,000 +24.6%
Orange $540,000 +18.7%
Riverside $270,000 +22.7%
San Bernardino $229,550 +35.0%
Ventura $446,500 +24.0%
SoCal $383,750 +21.8%

Source: DataQuick,

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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
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