Southern California home sales, prices post gains

Southern California home sales jumped 7.3% in January compared with the same month a year earlier, marking the strongest January for sales since 2013, according to real estate data released Tuesday.

Last month, 14,619 new and existing homes and condominiums were sold in Southern California, according to data firm CoreLogic. Although that was an increase from the 13,627 home sales in January 2015, the total was down 30.8% from December.

Andrew LePage, research analyst with CoreLogic, said the decrease in sales between December and January is normal. On average, sales fall about 27.7% from one month to the other, according to CoreLogic.

“Some people prefer not to buy and sell during the holidays or in the middle of winter, so January and February tend to be relatively weak months for closings and, as such, they're not especially predictive of what's to come for the rest of the year,” LePage said in a statement.

The median price paid for homes in Los Angeles,
Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties in January was $432,250, up 6.7% from the same month a year earlier, but down 1.8% compared with December 2015.

The median sale price has increased, year over year, for 46 consecutive months since April 2012, LePage said.

Also Tuesday, a national index showed that home builders are feeling a bit less confident this month.

February's reading of 58 points on the National Assn. of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was down from January's 61. Builders attributed the slip to higher costs and availability issues for both lots and labor.

The index measures builders' perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months. Any reading over 50 signals that more builders think conditions are good rather than poor.

samantha.masunaga@latimes.com

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

9:49 p.m.: Updates with additional details and background

Originally posted at 10:19 a.m.

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