Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Yesterday, Dataquick reported that the median home price across all of Southern California had fallen below $300,000 for the first time since April of 2003, a record 34.5 percent decline from a year ago. Here's what it looks like for each county over the last six years.
As you can discern from the chart above, in both San Diego and Riverside Counties, the median price has already moved back to 2002 levels (or before) with San Bernardino and Ventura Counties looking to follow suit in the months ahead.
From the price peaks, which occurred between late-2005 and early-2007 depending upon the area, the declines are even more horrific as shown to the right.
Even during the 1990s Southern California housing bust, no areas saw declines of 50 percent - if memory serves, a 40 percent drop is about as bad as it got back then.
Foreclosures accounted for an astounding 55 percent of all home sales and the overall number of sales rose again from a year ago.
Since Marshall "almost all if not all of those gains are here to stay" Prentice is now retired, new DataQuick President John Walsh once again provides the commentary:
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.It didn't look as though the year-over-year price declines could get any worse, but they did. The -40 to -50 percent range had to be opened up to accommodate the 43.9 percent decline originating in San Bernardino which remains the poster-child for the housing bust in the area.
Many first-time homebuyers are, understandably, cheering as foreclosures dominate sales, tugging down prices and raising affordability. For home sellers and the industry, though, one concern over foreclosures representing half of all sales is that those transactions simply repay lenders. They don't trigger a move-up purchase.
Median prices will probably see some support in the months ahead as more higher-end homes come on to the market as foreclosure sales - not that the median will go up, but that it will stop going down so fast.