California’s housing market picks up in June

California’s sluggish housing market showed some signs of life in June, with both Southern California and the Bay Area notching sales increases from May to June.

June sales in the state increased 9.7% from May, with 38,975 newly built and previously owned houses and condominiums bought by shoppers, according to San Diego research firm DataQuick. That figure was down 11.3% from June 2010, the last month to experience a surge of deals fueled by the now-expired popular federal tax credit for buyers.

The median price paid for a home in California last month — the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — was $253,000, up 1.6% from May and down 6.3% from a year earlier.

The median home price in the state bottomed at $221,000 in April 2009. The statewide median is 47.7% off its 2007 peak.


“June likely benefited from a combination of factors, such as price reductions, low mortgage rates and perhaps a batch of short-sale transactions from spring that took months to close,” DataQuick President John Walsh said in a statement. “Bargain hunters, mainly investors and first-time buyers, remain very active.”

So-called distressed sales made up more than half the Golden State’s resale market. Of the previously owned homes sold in June, 35% were foreclosures and an estimated 17.6% were short sales, in which a bank accepts less than the outstanding value of the debt on the property.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, home sales rose 14.5% from May to June, reaching the highest level for any month since June 2010. The median price rose 1.5% from May to $377,750, but that was down 7.9% from June 2010.

In Southern California, sales rose 11.6% last month from May, nearly twice what is typical for June, with a total of 20,532 newly built and previously owned homes changing hands.


The median sales price was $285,000 last month, a 1.8% increase from May but a 5% decline from June 2010.