Buyers still face a scant inventory, higher prices, rising interest rates and a dearth of bargain-priced foreclosed homes, said
Last month there were 14,471 sales on new and previously-owned homes in the six county region, which was down 21 percent from 18,415 in December and down 10 percent from 16,058 a year earlier.
Sales were 17 percent below the average 17,493 for a January dating back to 1988, when DataQuick began tracking the marker. That is not unusual, though, since the market collapsed in the middle of the last decade.
"Sales haven't been above average for any month in more than seven years," said DataQuick analyst
Sales have fallen below the year-ago level for four months in a row.
"Why? We're still putting a lot of the blame on the low inventory. But mortgage availability, the rise in interest rates and higher home prices matter too," DataQuick President
"Two of the bigger questions hanging over the housing market right now are, how much pent-up demand is left out there and will inventory skyrocket this year as more owners take advantage of the price run-up?'"
The answers won't be known until spring, he said.
The market did not vary much around the region.
Foreclosure sales -- homes foreclosed on in the prior 12 months -- accounted for 7 percent share of the resale market in January, up from 6 percent in December but down from down from 17 percent a year earlier. In recent months the foreclosure resale rate has been the lowest since early 2007, DataQuick said. They reached a high of 57 percent in
Short sales -- transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property -- made up an estimated 12 percent of Southland resales last month. That was down from 13 percent the prior month and down from 24.2 percent a year earlier.
The drop in distressed property sales and rising prices eroded affordability but that seems to have stabilized in the latter part of last year, according to the
The group said that price gains slowed in last year's fourth quarter, which helped affordability.
During the last three months of 2013 in
Statewide, 32 percent of families could afford a median priced home costing
(c)2014 the Daily News (Los Angeles)
Visit the Daily News (Los Angeles) at www.dailynews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services