News Column

Calif. Home Sales Up Sharply in October

Nov. 13, 2012

Debra Gruszecki

Southern California home sales hiked up sharply in October -- more than 25 percent -- as move-up buyers joined investors and foreclosure re-sales hit a five-year low, according to a new report from the real estate information service DataQuick.

The dynamic shifted the mix of homes up a notch.

And it all worked together to push the median price paid for a home up nearly 17 percent from October 2011 across Southern California.

Riverside County's real estate stock fared even better: The median price on homes sold in October rose 17.6 percent to $220,000 from $187,000 last year at that time. In San Bernardino County, a region hit considerably harder by unemployment and the housing crisis, median prices on homes sold in October rose 13.3 percent to $170,000, up from $150,000 a year earlier.

Realtors have been reporting sales price increases for some time, pinning the hike to woefully low levels of inventory. Sales dips have been blamed, as a result.

Not this time.

Across Southern California, the 21,075 sales across the six-county region represented a 25.2 percent increase from the 16,829 sales reported in October 2011. The median price of homes sold in October rose across Southern California roughly 16.7 percent from $270,000 to $315,000.

Riverside County realized a 12.6 percent year-over-year sales gain in October with 3,407 sales, 381 more than the prior year when 3,026 homes were sold. San Bernardino County netted 2,722 sales, up 18.3 percent or 422 sales from October 2011 when 2,300 sales were reported.

DataQuick president John Walsh said the October figures show a market that is rebalancing itself.

"Watching it is fascinating,'' he said, noting that in some categories and in some neighborhoods, demand is outstripping supply. That's pushed up prices. In other areas, the market remains largely dormant.

Walsh cited historically low interest rates as the main motivation for the hike in sales.

"It's a huge factor where mortgages are available,'' he said.

Source: (c)2012 The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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