Southern California housing market sees price gains as sales slow

The median home price in Southern California hit its highest point in nearly four years last month as buyers competed for fewer homes and committed to pricier abodes in more move-up neighborhoods.

The region’s median home price last month was $306,000, according to real estate research firm DataQuick. That was a 2.0% increase from June and up 8.1% from July 2011. The median, which is the point at which half the homes in the area sold for more and half for less, has been up year-over-year for four consecutive months and up from the prior month for six straight months.

“There’s growing evidence prices have crept up in areas where more demand has met a shrinking number of homes for sale,” DataQuick President John Walsh said. “But we’re approaching the peak of the traditional spring-summer home-buying season. Whether these trends hold into the fall and winter isn’t clear.”

Sales fell 6.7% from the month prior, but were up 13.8% from July 2011. A total of 20,588 newly built and previously owned houses and condominiums sold throughout the six-county region.

Sales of foreclosed homes sank, with just a little more than 1 in 5 resale homes sold last month being foreclosures. The decline in foreclosures sold also contributed to the bump in prices, as bank-owned homes are often clustered in less desirable areas and typically sell for a discount.


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