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Southland May Home Sales Highest in 7 Years; Median Price Hits 5-Year High

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Southern California home sales held at a seven-year high last month thanks to a stronger economy, pent-up demand, low mortgage rates and the widening perception that a home is a good investment. Prices continued to regain lost territory as buyers competed for a thin supply of homes for sale and poured a record amount of cash into the housing market, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 23,034 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 7.6 percent from 21,415 sales in April, and up 3.8 percent from 22,192 sales in May 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

Last month’s sales were the highest for the month of May since 30,303 Southland homes sold in May 2006, but they were still 10.1 percent below the May average of 25,617 sales since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. Over the last seven years Southland home 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 Southland was $368,000 last month, up 3.1 percent from $357,000 in April and up 24.7 percent from $295,000 in May 2012. Last month’s median was the highest for any month since May 2008, when it was $370,000, and the year-over-year increase was the highest since the median rose 24.8 percent in October 2004.

The median has risen on a year-over-year basis for 14 consecutive months, with those annual gains ranging between 10.8 percent and 24.7 percent over the past 10 months. May’s median remained 27.1 percent below the peak $505,000 median in spring/summer 2007. The median fell $256,000 from that peak to its $249,000 trough in April 2009, and it is currently on pace to regain half of that peak-to-trough loss sometime this summer.

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