AP News

Southern California home prices jump in October


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Southern California home prices jumped in October, a research firm said Tuesday, the latest evidence that the region's housing market recovery is gaining momentum.

The median price for new and existing houses and condominiums in the six-county region reached $315,000, up 16.7 percent from $270,000 the same period last year, DataQuick said. The figure matched September's median and is the highest since $330,000 in August 2008.

It marks the seventh straight month of annual price increases in an environment of low borrowing rates and a limited supply of homes for sale. There are also fewer foreclosed homes for sale, lifting the overall market because distressed properties tend to sell at steep discounts.

Homes that were foreclosed upon in the previous year accounted for 16.3 percent of existing home sales in October, down from 32.8 percent a year earlier and down from 56.7 percent in February 2009.

There were 21,075 homes sold in the region last month, up 25.2 percent from 16,829 the same period last year, DataQuick said. Sales grew in all six counties but the increases were sharpest in more expensive coastal regions.

Orange, the most expensive county with a median sales price of $455,000, saw sales soar 40.5 percent from last year. San Bernardino, the least expensive county with a median sales price $170,000, saw a more modest sales increase of 18.3 percent.

Homes selling for less than $200,000 fell 11.2 percent from last year, while sales between $300,000 and $800,000 skyrocketed 41.5 percent. Homes for more than $800,000 rose 52.4 percent.

DataQuick said investors continued to account for an unusually large portion of buyers.

Absentee buyers, mostly investors and second-home purchasers, bought 28 percent of the region's homes sold in October, up from 25.4 percent last year. The monthly average since 2000 is 17.6 percent.

Buyers paying all cash accounted for 32.1 percent of homes sold, up from 30 percent last year. The monthly average since 2000 is 17.6 percent.

DataQuick said home "flippers" are increasingly active. Homes that had sold twice in the previous six months accounted for 6.1 percent of sales last month, up from 3.7 percent a year earlier.


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