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Southern California home prices outpace those in other major cities

An open house sign is seen in Manhattan Beach.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California home prices continued to outpace the national average as well as those in many major cities, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday.

Prices nationally, adjusted for seasonal variation, rose 5.2% in the 12 months ended in March, with the Pacific Northwest and West seeing the biggest gains.

Los Angeles and Orange counties were up 6.5%, down from 6.8% in February and 6.9% in January. San Diego County’s median home price increased 6.2%, lower than the 6.4% increase in February and 6.9% in January.

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Portland had the biggest gains at 12.3%, followed by Seattle at 10.8% and Denver at 10%.

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Economists said home prices continue to rise because of improved labor markets and employment rates, low mortgage rates and limited home supplies.

Rising prices tend to affect lower-cost homes the most, driving up prices for first-time homebuyers, Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell said in a statement.

“The competition is locking out some first-time buyers, who instead are paying record-high rents,” she said. “For homebuyers looking for a home, the luxury market, including the condo market, are the places to find a better selection and even some price cuts as supply outpaces demand.”

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Home prices increased in the 20 metropolitan areas the index studied.

Washington, D.C., had the lowest year-over-year home price increase at 1.5%, followed by Chicago at 1.9%.

Real estate tracker CoreLogic reported two weeks ago that the Los Angeles County median home price in April was $520,000, 5.5% away from its peak level. Orange County tied its all-time high median sale price in April of $645,000, reached nearly nine years ago. The median is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.

The Case-Shiller index is considered the gold standard for measuring and comparing overall big-city housing markets because it tracks repeat sales of identical single-family houses as they turn over through the years.

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phillip.molnar@sduniontribune.com

Molnar writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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