California home sales continue slump


California’s housing market gave a dull performance in March as sales continued to slump and prices were mixed, according to data released Thursday.

The state’s median home price increased 2% from February to $249,000. But that was a 2.4% decline from March 2010, according to San Diego research firm DataQuick. The year-over-year decrease was the sixth in a row after 11 months of increases.

Sales were down 2.4% from March 2010, with an estimated 36,417 newly built and previously owned houses and condos bought last month. That was up 33.3% from the previous month, but an increase is common from February to March. Last month’s tally fell 17.5% below the average for the month, according to DataQuick, whose records go back to 1988.


So-called distressed properties made up well over half of the state’s market. Of the previously owned abodes sold in March, 39.3% were foreclosures, down from 40.1% in February and 40.3% in March 2010.

Short sales, in which the sales price fell short of the amount owed on the property, made up an estimated 17.6% of the resale market last month. That was down from an estimated 18.8% the previous month, but the same as March 2010.

The median price of a home in the Southland was $280,500 in March, a 2% increase from February and a decline of 1.6% from March 2010. Sales were down 5.2% from March 2010 and up 35.1% from February.

In the Bay Area, sales logged their best March in four years and prices were mixed. A total of 7,051 homes were sold, up 0.2% from March 2010 and 41.3% from the previous month. The Bay Area’s median sales price was $360,000, up 6.7% from February but down 5.3% from March 2010.