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Highest Southland April Home Sales Since ’06; Median Price Nears 5-Yr High

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Southern California homes sold at the fastest pace for an April in seven years amid the release of pent-up demand for move-up homes and high levels of investor purchases. The median sale price rose to a 58-month high, reflecting both home price appreciation as well as the simultaneous plunge in foreclosure resales and surge in mid- to up-market buying, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 21,415 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 4.1 percent from 20,581 sales in March, and up 9.5 percent from 19,562 sales in April 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

On average, sales between March and April have risen 1.0 percent since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin.

Last month’s sales were the highest for the month of April since 27,114 Southland homes sold in April 2006, but they were 11.8 percent below the April average of 24,291 sales. The low for April sales was 15,303 in 1995, while the high was 37,905 in April 2004.

“This is a market that is still re-balancing. Sales of deeply discounted properties in affordable neighborhoods are way down. Activity in middle and high-end communities is on its way up. Now it’s catch-up time, with a healthier economy spurring more demand and rising prices tempting more people to put their homes up for sale,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county Southland was $357,000 last month, up 3.3 percent from $345,500 in March and up 23.1 percent from $290,000 in April 2012. Last month’s median was the highest since June 2008, when the median was $360,000.

The median has risen on a year-over-year basis for 13 consecutive months, and those gains have been double-digit – between 10.8 percent and 23.5 percent – since last August. Still, last month’s median remained 29.3 percent below the peak $505,000 median in spring/summer 2007.

It appears that well over half of last month’s 23.1 percent year-over-year gain in the Southland median sale price reflects rising home prices, with the balance reflecting the change in market mix.

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