Housing Market Is On The Move In Southern California II

Nice excerpt from Ben’s Housing Bubble Blog:

The California realtors report on April sales. “Home sales decreased 27.8 percent in April in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home increased 6.2 percent, CAR reported today. ‘April sales fell in part because of tighter credit standards and growing concerns about the impact of subprime loans on the market,’ said C.A.R. President Colleen Badagliacco. ‘Throughout the state inventory levels have increased to their highest levels in recent years, giving buyers more time to view a greater variety of homes and sellers who set realistic prices an edge in the market.’”

“‘Although the median price of a home in California continues to rise, this reflects the fall-off in sales in the lower-priced markets of the state where new home inventories and foreclosures are competing with the existing home market,’ said C.A.R. Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. ‘Fewer sales from these regions coupled with modest gains in some of the stronger coastal markets are pushing the median price for the state up slightly.’”

This supports the analysis that this latest drop is worse for low-end markets suffered from the woes of sub-prime loans. A change in the mix of houses sold really skewed the median price data.

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Housing Market Is On The Move In Southern California

According to Union Tribune “DataQuick expects to report today that the six-county Southern California region saw defaults rise nearly 159 percent last month to more than 9,200, compared with 3,562 in April 2006, and that foreclosures skyrocketed from 311 to more than 2,800 over the same period. San Diego’s defaults rose from 554 to 1,346, and foreclosures increased from 85 to 525, April to April.”

“But San Diego was painted as an area less vulnerable to any further major downturns, contingent on the health of the general economy. Reasons include relatively few unsold, newly built homes and new projects; steady if not improving job growth; and an earlier end to the housing boom than other markets where sales and prices are now in decline. … Prices, which had peaked at $517,500 in November 2005 and lately dropped to as low as $472,000 in January, have recovered somewhat to stand at a median $490,000. But they remain 10 percent or more below where they stood a year ago in many neighborhoods”.

As I remember, the housing market in San Diego headed south earlier than Los Angeles and San Francisco. The current slide was only from the drain of cheap money, which means that the market is vulnerable to further slides resulting from rising foreclosures and the weakening of local job market. Unfortunately, with depreciating housing value, foreclosures are rising really fast. With economy growth significantly slowed down, the job market is unlikely to absorb the loss in housing related jobs. So there are certainly more drops to come.