Wednesday, September 16, 2009
A quick update of the charts for Southern California real estate sales are in order after yesterday's DataQuick report on August activity.
Judging from the trend in year-over-year prices, it looks like happy days are here again, though none of the six counties have posted a positive result for two years.
That may change in the months ahead as Orange County is only a few percent shy of break even, no doubt aided by an increase in sales at the high end that boosts median prices, all else being equal.
The median price paid for all of Southern California rose 2.6 percent, from $268,000 in July to $275,000 last month, however this is down 16.7 percent from a year ago.
Investors are said to be snapping up homes at a blistering pace, accounting for some 20 percent of all sales, up from 18 percent last month, and foreclosure sales are declining, down from a peak of almost 60 percent of all sales in February to just 39 percent in August.
There is a good deal of caution in both the DataQuick report and in other accounts of this latest California real estate sales data.
The surge in buyers who are looking to take advantage of the $8,000 home buyers tax credit which expires soon, the seasonally lower mix of foreclosures sales, the inventory of foreclosed homes now in the pipeline but still held off the market, and the upward pressure on median prices due to a sales mix that now includes more higher priced homes may all be contributing to a picture of rising prices that is not consistent with reality.
Maybe it's just me, but this is starting to feel like 2005-2006 all over again.