For April 2012, DQ News reported that 19,284 new and resale homes sold Southern California last month. That was down from March by 3.4% and up 5.1% from the 18,344 sold in April 2011.
April’s median price was $290,000 for southern California, which is up 3.6% from $280,000 in March, and also up 3.6% from April 2011. This is the highest median price since December 2010. Last month’s median was 17.4% above the low point in this cycle, but 42.6% below the peak in mid 2007.
“The housing market continued its painfully slow crawl back toward normalcy last month. You can see it in the fading role of foreclosures, the uptick in median prices here and there, and the higher levels of sales in coastal counties,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
“Of course, there are still a lot of things that make this market abnormal,” he said. “Investor and cash buying are still unusually robust. The jumbo loan market has yet to recover, and the use of plain-vanilla adjustable-rate mortgages, or ‘ARMs,’ remains far below normal. Lots of homeowners are ‘underwater,’ and the market remains awash in uncertainty over the economy, home prices, and the way lenders will handle the many thousands of homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments.”
The higher end market homes selling for above $800,000 were up 3.0% from a year ago so the higher end of the market is still not doing well. The mid range $300,000 to $800,000 rose 3.5% from same month last year.
Distressed properties 47% of the mix last month Southern California residential activity last month, which is still a relatively high number.
Foreclosure resales – properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – were 28.6% of the resale market last month, down from 31.5 % in March and down from 33.8% last year in April. Last month’s foreclosure resales were the lowest since January 2008. Foreclosures resales hit a high for the current cycle of 56.7 % of total sales in February 2009 and a low in this cycle of 28.6% last month.
Short sales were an estimated 18.5% of Southern California resales last month. That compares with 18.9% in March and 17.3% a year ago.
Credit still remains tight, but the return to more normal mix of traditional buyers brought higher levels of ARMs and Jumbo loans. Jumbos accounted for 18.9% of last month financing activity and adjustables were 7.1%
Investor activity was still near record high with the percentage of buyers paying cash at double historical averages.
The Southern California market is starting to heal, but it’s been a long climb back just like it has been in previous cycles.
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