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Has the giant and once-red hot California market hit bottom? I am reminded by the words of my former colleague who recently decided to put his house on the market after retiring. I asked if this was the time to sell. He said during the last downturn, in the 1990s, it took eight years for his house to regain its former value. He didn’t want to wait that long.
But the latest numbers from housing research DataQuick shows home sales rebounding. A total of 15,615 homes were sold in Southern California, up 22% from the previous month. Some caveats to the data: that sales number was still down 19% from April of last year. It represents that weakest April since 1995.
Prices too are still declining, the median home price for the month was $385,000, down 28% from the same period last year. But DataQuick noticed some positive signs. Two-thirds of the homes sold were under $500,000 in price. Which means families and first time buyers were stepping up to take advantage of some the steep discounts in the market recently.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.