Home sales pick up pace in Southern California in September

Signs in Huntington Beach point to open houses.
(Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

Home sales rose for the first time this year in September, according to new figures out Monday.

Led by gains in Los Angeles County, sales in the six-county Southland grew 1.2% compared with the same month last year, according to CoreLogic DataQuick, while price gains continued to moderate.

It’s the latest sign of a housing market that’s reaching equilibrium after years of big swings. Real estate agents and other market watchers this summer have reported growing inventory, price cuts and a shift in the market toward so-called “regular” buyers, instead of the flood of investors and cash-only purchasers who drove up prices last year.


“Today’s home shoppers are more likely to find a less-crowded market with fewer intense multiple-offer situations and more serious, realistic sellers,” said CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage.

That’s being reflected in the numbers. The median price of homes sold in September across the six-county region was $413,000, down a bit from August’s $420,000 and up 8.1% compared with last September. It was the first month in more than two years that none of the six counties CoreLogic tracks notched a double-digit price gain.

Sales growth was strongest in Los Angeles County - up 3.4% - and Orange County - up 2.2% - while volumes dipped in San Diego, Riverside and Ventura counties.

Prices climbed fastest in Riverside - up 9.7% to $295,000 - and slowest in Ventura - up 3.4% to $460,000.

The cooler price growth may have helped boost sales across the region. The number of sales grew between August and September, and notched their first year-over-year gain in 12 months. Economists have said that higher prices and strict lending guidelines have dampened home sales this year, but predict sales could rise if incomes start to improve.

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