CA home sales jump; but prices keep dropping

California home sales are actually rising for the first time in months — can you believe it?

I couldn’t, at first.  But then it all made sense.  With thousands of foreclosures coming on the market, people are picking up deals — good deals.

Personally, I still think the market is still majorly out of balance.  My father in law bought a $34,000 home in San Gabriel in the 1970s on a job that was almost as low as minimum wage at the time.

Try doing that today.  It’s impossible.  And it’s almost impossible for even those who make $30,000, $40,000 or even $50,000 a year.

Check out the below Associated Press story filed on Tuesday night:

 


AP
Home sales in California jump nearly 27 percent
Tuesday May 20, 6:38 pm ET
By Jordan Robertson, AP Business Writer

Home sales in California jump nearly 27 percent from March-April but prices continue to drop

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Home sales in California jumped nearly 27 percent from March to April as bargain hunters found it easier to get loans and pick up property on the cheap.

 

But home prices continue to drop across the state, a sign that home owners are still finding it hard to unload their properties without steep discounts, according to numbers released Tuesday by DataQuick Information Systems.

The median price paid for a California home last month was $354,000 — down 1.1 percent from the month before and down nearly 27 percent from the year-ago period.

A total of 31,150 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month, up 26.8 percent from March but still down 10.9 percent from the year-ago period, making it the most sluggish April since 1995, according to DataQuick.

Many of those homes were foreclosed properties — nearly 38 percent of the total number of homes sold.

The numbers show that widespread foreclosures continue to depress housing prices in California, though the slumping real estate market has created an opportunity for buyers because of the sagging costs of getting into a home.

In the nine-county San Francisco Bay area region, which includes San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and surrounding areas, a total of 6,310 homes were sold in April, a jump of 28.8 percent over March — the largest for the March-to-April period since DataQuick began keeping statistics in 1988.

DataQuick attributed the March-April increases to mortgage lenders loosening their grip on hard-to-come-by home loans.

“The big issue here is that mortgages are becoming obtainable, which will reduce the pile of stacked-up pending escrows,” Marshall Prentice, DataQuick’s president, said in a statement. “It’s unclear if the financing is because of policy changes or because mortgage investors are getting more interested in securities. Probably both.”

The housing crisis was triggered in part by home owners who took out adjustable-rate mortgages and could not make their payments once the loans reset to higher rates. Widespread foreclosures have led to billions of dollars in losses for major banks and other lenders.

More than a quarter of the so-called “resale” homes sold in the Bay Area in April were foreclosed properties.

The home market in Southern California, which also has been hit hard by the mortgage meltdown and credit crunch, also showed signs of improvement in recent months because of the same factors.

Home sales in the six-county region measured in DataQuick’s Monday report — including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties — leaped 22 percent from March to April. The median price for homes in that region was $385,000, down 24 percent from $505,000 in April of last year.


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