Like other housing indicators covering
the summer's end, the one released today by DataQuick showed a gradually
slowing market. The San Diego based
company reported that home sales in southern California, which traditionally
decline from August to September, did so by a larger amount than usual. Sales were still up over a year earlier.
Sales of homes and condos in the state's
six largest southern counties totaled 19,122 in September, a decrease of 17.1
percent from the 23,057 completed sales in August. Sales in that region of the state have declined
an average of 9.3 percent between August and September since 1988. Still the September number exceeded sales in
September 2012 by 7.0 percent.
September sales were also almost 20
percent below historic September levels which have ranged between 12,455 in
2007 and 37,771 in 2003 with an average of 23,862. It has been seven years since sales in any
month have exceeded the average for that month.
The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the
region last month was $382,000, down 0.8 percent from $385,000 in August and up
21.3 percent from $315,000 in September 2012. This was the 18th
consecutive month that prices have risen on an annual basis and the 14th
for double digit increases - those have ranged between 10.8 and 28.3 percent. September's median remained 24.4 percent below
the peak $505,000 median in spring/summer 2007.
"We've seen a fairly normal downshifting in the housing market this fall.
Couple that with the rise in inventory, higher mortgage rates and the ongoing,
gradual drop in purchases by investors and cash buyers and it's no wonder
prices have leveled off in recent months. What's not clear is how well the
market can weather the job losses related to the federal government shutdown
and the blow to consumer confidence caused by fears of a default in the
national debt. Those impacts would start to show up in data released over the
next couple of months," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
It appears that most of last month's 21.3 percent year-over-year increase in
the Southland median sale price reflects rising home prices, while a small
portion reflects a change in market mix; a big increase in mid- to high-end
sales over the last year and a big decline in sales of distressed properties. Median square foot prices rose 23.2 percent
in the lowest-cost tier of housing stock, 24.8 percent for the middle, and 18.5
percent for the most expensive homes.
In September, foreclosure resales accounted for 6.3 percent of the Southland
resale market, down from 6.9 percent in August and 16.6 percent a year
earlier. It was the lowest rate since
May 2007. Short sales also fell to a
13.1 percent share, the lowest since May 2009.
Non-owner occupants bought 26.3 percent
of homes sold last month. That share has
ratcheted down gradually each month in 2013 after peaking at 32.4 percent in
January. Flips, homes sold within six
months of a previous sale, rose to 6.2 percent from 5.9 percent in August and
5.5 percent a year earlier.
Buyers paying with cash accounted for 27.6 percent of last month's home sales,
down from 28.4 percent the month before and 32.2 percent a year earlier. Among those using a mortgage 11.9 percent
used an ARM, about double the national average, and 19.0 percent went with FHA.
The most active lenders in the southern California market in August were Wells
Fargo with 8.7 percent of the purchase loan market, Bank of America with 2.6
percent and JP Morgan Chase with 2.5 percent.
All lenders combined provided $6.02 billion in mortgage money to home buyers in
September, down from $6.58 billion in August and up from $4.47 billion in
September last year.