Southern California housing market treads water in November

SoCal housing market closing down 2014 'on a low note'

As the year draws to a close, Southern California's housing market remains stuck in low gear.

The number of homes sold in the six-county Southland dipped 9.5% in November, compared with the same month last year. The median price climbed to $412,000, up 7% from November 2013 but basically unchanged from recent months.

That's according to new figures out Monday from CoreLogic DataQuick, which tracks the housing market here. That same general pattern -- fewer sales and single-digit year-over-year price gains -- has held through the second half of 2014, as would-be buyers stay on the sidelines after last year's big run-up in prices.

"Southern California home sales are closing on a low note in 2014," said Andrew LePage, a data analyst for CoreLogic DataQuick. "Inventory still lags demand in many markets and traditional buyers haven't filled the void left by the investors who've pulled out. Among would-be buyers, affordability and mortgage availability remain as hurdles."

Still, LePage and other market watchers expect 2015 to be a modestly better year, as job and wage growth boosts demand and interest rates remain near record lows.

Price growth in November was strongest in the Inland Empire; the median price rose 10.9% in Riverside County and 16.7% in San Bernardino. It was weakest in Ventura and San Diego counties, up 3.4% and 3.6%, respectively.

Price growth was fastest at the lower end of the market, slowest at the high end. Indicators of foreclosures, short sales and cash or investor purchasing continue to trend downward.

Keep an eye on housing and real estate in Southern California. Follow me on Twitter at @bytimlogan

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