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Average Price of San Diego House Up 18% to $178,975

San Diego County Business Editor

The average price of an existing house in the metropolitan San Diego area continued to grow at a double-digit rate in October, with the typical resold house selling for $178,975, up 18% from the average price a year ago.

Realtors said demand for housing, particularly in the low- and mid-price ranges, continues to outstrip supply, pushing prices higher and causing houses to sell often within a day or two of being placed on the market.

“The market in Clairemont is so hot you can’t find anything to sell to anyone,” said Marjorie McLaughlin, a broker with Century 21-Northcutt Realty who does most of her business in Clairemont, where a “plain Jane, three-bedroom house sells for a minimum $160,000. I have three buyers I can’t find a single house to show.”

Realtors speculated that some potential sellers may have been keeping their houses off the market until after Tuesday’s election. Among the measures on the ballot were various growth-control initiatives that, if enacted, could limit the supply of new housing in the county and cause prices to rise.

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“If the measures pass, I think panic will set in and people will buy whatever they can at whatever price until the houses reach a level that no one can afford,” said Wayne Bank, president of the San Diego board and of Wayne Bank Realtor, a residential real estate brokerage in Mission Valley.

According to the San Diego Board of Realtors, which performed the survey among its member brokers in San Diego, El Cajon and Chula Vista, total sales handled by members during October were 1,116, up 4% from the year-ago total of 1,075 closings.

New Listings Processed

Another barometer of market activity--the number of new listings processed--increased to 2,636, up 6% from the 2,475 new listings processed by members in October, 1987. Members of the San Diego Board of Realtors usually handle more than 50% of the resales in the county, a spokeswoman said.

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Interest rates of government-insured VA mortgages dipped half a percentage point last week to 10%, causing many conventional lenders to reduce their fixed-rate loans as well.

Despite the lower rates, Home Federal Savings reported Tuesday that 99% of the mortgage loans it is processing carry adjustable interest rates.

Home Fed Vice President Dennis Casey said the popularity of the adjustable-rate loans is due in part to the big increases in San Diego housing prices over the past two years. Because the variable-rate loans start at lower interest rates, they make it easier for home buyers to qualify for a loan.

For the first 10 months of 1988, the average sale price of existing San Diego-area houses was $170,498, up 17% from the $145,606 average price paid over the same 10 months in 1987. Total unit sales handled by member realtors through October were 15,766, up 16% from the 13,540 sales closed over the same period a year ago.


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