The San Diego County median home price decreased for the second month in a row in August to $535,000, real estate tracker CoreLogic reported Tuesday.
Despite the break in rising prices, most experts caution that tight supply — fewer homes are for sale in 2017 compared to last year — should continue to keep prices high.
The half-a-million-dollar price tag for a home is still far off what houses were going for during the housing boom before the crash. The November 2005 peak of $517,500 equates to more than $644,000 in today's dollars when adjusted for inflation.
A slowdown in August, a 0.5 percent decrease in price, is common after stronger sales in February through May, said Dana Kuhn, real estate lecturer at San Diego State University, and it is unlikely the median price would reach June's peak again before the end of the year.
"It's usually more about spring than it is summer," he said of sales in San Diego.
The median home price has increased 7.4 percent in a year, led by the resale market. Here is how all the categories changed in August:
- Median resale home price: $585,000. With 2,643 sales in August, the resale home price has increased 6.4 percent in a year.
- Resale condo price: $400,000. The condo price has increased 6 percent in a year and there were 1,234 sales in August.
- Newly built home: $623,750. There were 235 new homes sold in August, reflecting a slowdown in the construction of single-family homes. Price is down 8.7 percent in a year, but it fluctuates more than other home categories because of limited supply.
There were 5,867 homes listed for sale in August, said the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, down from 6,814 listings in August last year, and 7,265 in 2015.
Despite nearly 1,000 fewer listings compared to last year, the number of sales was nearly identical. Mark Goldman, also a real estate lecturer at San Diego State University, said if listings keep going down, it will eventually begin to slow sales.
In some markets, he said he has seen homes taking longer to sell because sellers have gotten a bit carried away with very high listing prices. The effect has been fewer offers from potential buyers.
"Prices are backing off a bit," he said. "I think we've hit the wall of affordability."
Absentee buyers, usually investors who don't intend to live in the home, made up 20.9 percent of San Diego County purchases in August, down from 19.8 percent the year before. In early 2013, more than 30 percent of sales went to absentee buyers.
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Among ZIP codes with at least 15 sales in August, Del Mar's median resale single-family home price went up the most in a year, 48 percent, to $2.1 million. It was followed by Ocean Beach, increasing 32 percent, to $1 million, and La Jolla, increasing 17 percent, to $2.2 million.
With resale condos, College Area has increased the most in a year, 48 percent, with a $308,000 median price. It was followed by Rancho Penasquitos (25 percent) with a median of $422,000, and Chula Vista (24.9 percent) with a median of $331,000.
For all of Southern California, the median home price was up 7.5 percent in a year to $500,000. The largest increase was in San Bernardino County, at 12.5 percent, to a median price of $315,000.
It was followed by Los Angeles County with a 9.4 percent increase for a median of $580,000; Riverside County with a 7.7 percent increase for a median of $365,000; San Diego County with the 7.4 percent increase; Ventura County with a 6 percent increase for a median of 567,000; and Orange County with a 5.5 percent increase for a median of $685,000.