Southern California Home Prices Up 22.5% versus Last Year

Dwindling foreclosures and higher sales in pricier, coastal neighborhoods have pushed Southern California home prices to their highest levels in almost two years, according to MDA Data-Quick.

The median price of a Southern California home, or price at the midpoint of all sales, jumped 22.5 percent in May to $305,000. It was the first time since October 2008 that the SoCal median price has been at $300,000 or higher. Meanwhile, home sales were up 7.2 percent, juiced in part by the expiring of a federal tax credit of up to $8,000. Take note, the first time buyers credit program ends June 30th 2010.

Overall, improvements in price averages were due mainly to the types of homes that are selling from lower-cost bargains to higher-dollar, non-distressed homes.

  • Sales fell in the region’s two most affordable counties: Riverside County sales dropped 5.7% from a year ago, while San Bernardino’s sales fell 9.5%.
  • The pricier coastal counties saw sales climb, from 2.3% in Ventura County to 22.1% in Orange County.
  • Existing house sales fell 16.2% from a year ago in ZIP codes that tend to be in the bottom third of the market pricewise.
  • Existing house sales increased 21.7% in the pricier third of SoCal ZIP codes.
  • Both adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM’s) and “jumbo” loans of $417,000 — which help drive pricier home sales — are increasing.
  • In May, 6.6% of all home purchase loans were ARM’s, up from 1.9% a year earlier.
  • Jumbo loans accounted for 17.2% of last month’s purchase lending, vs. 12.9% a year earlier.
  • The share of bank-owned foreclosed houses being resold continues to shrink.
  • Last month, just 33.9% of existing houses resold in the region were bank-owned homes that had been foreclosed upon in the previous year. That compares to 49.8% in May 2009 and a high of 56.7% in February 2009.

In a statement, Data-Quick President John Walsh said: “Today the bargains on foreclosures are fewer and farther between, and the high-end is approaching a normal sales rate.”

Source: OC Register
Information provided by: Robert E. Toffel, LPS Title Services