Los Angeles home sales flatten out in June, but not prices
By Gregory J. Wilcox, Los Angeles Daily News, July 19, 2016:
Home sales across Southern California in June flattened out from a year ago as prices kept rising, a market tracker said Tuesday.
Sales of new and previously owned houses and condominiums across the six-county region slipped .2 percent last month from 24,377 a year earlier to 24,326, said Irvine-based CoreLogic. Sales rose 9 percent from 22,327 in May.
June’s median home price rose 5 percent from $442,000 a year ago to $464,000 and increased 1 percent from May.
“The median price ... has risen on a year-over-year basis each month for more than four years, and over the past two years those annual gains have been single-digit and fairly steady, averaging about 6 percent,” said CoreLogic research analyst Andrew LePage in a statement.
But it’s been almost nine years since the region’s median price hit a record $505,000 in the spring and summer of 2007, he noted.
In Los Angeles County, sales in June fell 3.5 percent from a year ago to 7,869 and increased 9 percent from May, said CoreLogic.
The county’s median home price in June increased 6 percent from a year earlier to $530,000 and rose 1 percent from May.
In San Bernardino County, sales in June rose 3.5 percent from a year ago to 2,872 and increased 9 percent from May.
The median price increased 6 percent from a year earlier to $285,000 and it was unchanged from May.
LePage noted that prices in today’s market are being driven by different factors than those in place when the market was booming during the last decade.
“The current cycle has received a boost from historically low mortgage rates — about 3.6 percent recently compared with the 6-percent range in the last cycle,” he said.
And the boom market featured “loose underwriting” and high-risk subprime home loans that allowed borrowers to buy homes that they could not afford.
“Today’s post-bust lending standards remain moderately tight and the share of financed purchases with a down payment of 3 percent or less is about half of what it was when prices last peaked in 2006-2007,” said LePage. “Ultra-low mortgage rates mean home buyers today using safe-and-sane financing face monthly mortgage payments that are substantially lower than what they would have been when home prices were at the same level in the last cycle.”