Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Southern California Home Prices Fall on Foreclosures

By Daniel Taub

May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Southern California house and condominium prices fell 36 percent in April from a year earlier as foreclosures accounted for more than half of all sales, MDA DataQuick said.

The median price dropped to $247,000 from $385,000 a year earlier and is now 51 percent below the peak reached two years ago, the San Diego-based research company said today in a statement. Sales rose 31 percent last month from a year ago.

“Whatever price stability is out there is tenuous at best,” said Andrew LePage, an analyst with MDA DataQuick. “It’s going to come down to how much worse job losses and foreclosures are going to get for the balance of the year.”

Sales of foreclosed homes accounted for 54 percent of all transactions involving previously owned properties in April. That marks the seventh consecutive month such properties were more than half of resales, MDA DataQuick said. The median price was down 1.2 percent from March, the research company said.

A total of 20,514 new and existing homes sold last month in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties, up from 15,615 a year earlier, the company said.

Absentee buyers, including investors requesting that their property-tax bills be sent to a different address, bought almost 19 percent of Southern California homes purchased in April. That’s up from 17 percent a year ago and compares with a 15 percent monthly average since 2000, MDA DataQuick said.

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