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Southland Home Sales Drop; Record Yr/Yr Gain for Median Sale Price

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Southern California home sales fell in June amid a still-tight supply of homes for sale, rising mortgage rates and a letup in investor buying. The median sale price rose at a record year-over-year pace to the highest level – $385,000 – in more than five years, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 21,608 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was down 6.2 percent from 23,034 sales in May, and down 2.1 percent from 22,075 sales in June 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

Last month’s year-over-year sales decline was the first for any month since last September. June sales were 20.9 percent below the June average of 27,315 sales since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. Over the past seven years Southland sales have been below average for any particular month.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county region was $385,000 last month, up 4.6 percent from $368,000 in May and up 28.3 percent from $300,000 in June 2012. Last month’s median was the highest for any month since April 2008, when it was also $385,000, and the year-over-year increase was the highest for any month in DataQuick’s records back to January 1989.

The median price has risen on a year-over-year basis for 15 consecutive months, with those annual gains ranging between 10.8 percent and 28.3 percent over the past 11 months. June’s median remained 23.8 percent below the peak $505,000 median in spring/summer 2007. The median fell by $256,000 from that peak to its $249,000 trough in April 2009, and it has now regained just over half – 51.8 percent – of that peak-to-trough loss.

In a sign of continued market confidence, Southern California home buyers continue to put near-record amounts of their own money into residential real estate. In June they paid a total of $4.7 billion out of their own pockets in the form of down payments or cash purchases. That was down from May’s all-time high of $5.5 billion, and up from $4.1 billion a year ago.

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