As seen on DQNEWS.com
La Jolla, CA—Southern California’s housing market started 2013 with the highest January home sales in six years as sales to investors and cash buyers hovered near record levels and move-up activity remained relatively brisk. The median price paid for a Southland home dipped slightly from December, as it normally does, but jumped 23.5 percent above the year-ago level, a real estate information service reported.
A total of 16,058 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was down 20.8 percent from 20,274 sales in December, and up 10.6 percent from 14,523 sales in January 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
A drop in sales from December to January is normal for the season, and on average sales have fallen 27.8 percent between those two months since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. Last month’s sales were the highest for the month of January since 18,128 homes sold in January 2007, though they were 8.8 percent below the January average of 17,609 sales. The low for January sales was 9,983 in 2008, while the high was 26,083 in 2004.
The median price paid for a home in the six-county Southland was $321,000 last month, down 0.6 percent from $323,000 in December and up 23.5 percent from $260,000 in January 2012. The December 2012 median was the highest for any month since the median was $330,000 in August 2008. The Southland median has increased year-over-year for ten consecutive months.
“This fledgling housing recovery has momentum. Already, price hikes have caused some to question whether it’s sustainable, whether it’s a ‘bubble.’ Let’s not forget, though, that we’re still climbing out of a deep hole from the housing downturn. Regional home sales remain sub-par and prices in many areas are at least 30 to 40 percent below their peaks. That’s not to say we don’t see risks. Sharp price gains can attract speculation, which could lead to unsustainable, short-term gains in certain submarkets. A lot of today’s housing demand is fueled not by spectacular job growth and soaring consumer confidence, but by super-low mortgage rates and unusually high levels of investor and cash purchases. Take away any one of those elements and it will matter,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president
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