Southern California Home Sales for March 2012

 In California, Foreclosures, Los Angeles, Residential, Santa Monica

For March 2012, DQ News reported that 19,953 new and resale homes sold Southern California last month. That was up from February by 36% and up 2.8% from the 19,412 sold in March 2011.  The average increase is 37% from February to March since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics began.  This sounds like great news, but March’s total was 18.6% below average and the second lowest for a March since Data Quick began keeping records in 1988.  Newly built homes were up 9% from same period in 2011.

In the top end of the market sales over $800,000 dropped 5.6% from a year ago so the higher end of the market is still doing relatively poorly.

The median price for March was $280,000, which is up 5.8% from February, but down .02% from March 2011.   This is the highest median price since September of 2011.  Last month’s median was 13.4% above the low point in this cycle, but 44.6% below the peak in mid 2007.

“The year is young and lots could still change, but the results from the first big sales month of 2012 suggest the market is stuck in low gear. This remains a very gradual – not to mention fragile – recovery. Last month’s big gain in sales from February was seasonal. A lot more people get out and shop after the holidays and as spring approaches. More telling was the relatively small gain in sales activity compared with a year ago. It’s a reminder that, for many potential buyers, lower prices and amazingly low mortgage rates still aren’t enough to get them over their hurdles: tight credit, home values below what they owe on their mortgages, and uncertainties over the economy and home prices,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

Distressed properties were still around half of the Southern California residential activity last month.

Foreclosure resales – properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – were 31.1% of the resale market last month, down from 32.1 % in February and down from 36.0% in March 2011.  Last month’s foreclosure resales were the lowest since January 2008.  Foreclosures resales hit a high for the current cycle of 56.7 % of total sales in February 2009 and a low in this cycle of 31.1% last month.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 18.9% of Southern California resales last month. That compares with 20.4% in February and 18.5% a year ago.

Sales Volume Median Price
All homes 11-Mar 12-Mar %Chng 11-Mar 12-Mar %Chng
Los Angeles 6,590 6,772 2.80% $320,000 $306,000 -4.40%
Orange 2,615 2,856 9.20% $430,000 $400,000 -7.00%
Riverside 3,843 3,756 -2.30% $198,000 $200,000 1.00%
San Bernardino 2,544 2,512 -1.30% $150,000 $150,000 0.00%
San Diego 3,063 3,237 5.70% $325,000 $320,500 -1.40%
Ventura 757 820 8.30% $349,000 $350,000 0.30%
SoCal 19,412 19,953 2.80% $280,500 $280,000 -0.20%
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