Ah, remember when Southern California stood for sunshine, the Beach Boys and eternally rising housing prices? No more.
According to research firm MDA DataQuick, the median home price fell a record breaking 35% in November versus the same month in 2007. The median price paid for all homes combined last month was $285,000, down 5% from October. Last month’s median was the lowest since it was $298,000 in April 2003, which was the last time the median was below $300,000. November’s median stood 43.6 percent below the peak $505,000 median reached in spring and summer of last year.
The median price has eroded consistently over the past 16 months as price depreciation swept the region, discounted foreclosures ballooned in inland markets and sales stagnated in higher-end neighborhoods. The latter have suffered from, among other things, a difficult financing environment for large mortgages.
“Bargains and bargain hunters have kept this market alive through some of the bleakest financial news in memory. There’s this renewed sense that you can score a ‘deal’ – something that had been missing for many years. Last month’s Southland sales weren’t great, given they were the second-lowest for any November in 16 years. But they could have been a lot worse,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
Foreclosures have accounted for about half of all Southland resales during the past three months. In November, they reached 55%.
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.