Record SoCal homes prices on tight supply

Median to $697,500 in December, notches all-time high in six-county area

Bright SoCal Neighborhood (iStock)
Bright SoCal Neighborhood (iStock)

Home values in Southern California over the past year have ticked up, and up, and up … to an all-time high median price of $697,500 in December.

The record median sale price for six counties from Ventura to San Diego follows a year-long home buying frenzy fueled by low interest rates, millennial buyers getting into the market, and a desire for more living space during the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles Times, citing a report from data firm DQNews.

The median sales price rose 16.3 percent in December from a year earlier, marking a 10th median high record in 2021.

Economists expect home prices to rise at a slower clip this year – by single digits – as already high prices and anticipated interest-rate hikes raise hurdles on ownership.

The market is expected to remain tight in any case. Home inventory is at historic lows, with nearly 30 percent fewer homes for sale in Los Angeles and Orange counties last month than a year earlier, Zillow said in a report Thursday.

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Fewer homes on the market have led to bidding wars, and higher home prices. Nearly 60 percent of offers in December were joined by competing bids, according to L.A. County data from Redfin.

The tighter inventory has put a squeeze on overall home sales, which slipped 10 percent from a year earlier. Last month’s sales were still 10 percent higher than in December 2019, just prior to the start of the pandemic.

The housing supply shortage is blamed on a lack of new construction and homeowners unwilling to give up low mortgage rates to compete in a hot housing market.

Investors are also swallowing up available inventory, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting.
The Los Angeles Times compiled home sales and price figures by each county in December, compared with a year earlier:
In Los Angeles County, the median home price rose 15 percent to a record $805,000, while sales fell 5.8 percent.
In Orange County, the median home price rose 17.6 percent to a record $935,000, while sales fell 17.5 percent.
In Riverside County, the median home price rose 20.4 percent to a record $550,000, while sales fell 7.7 percent.
In San Bernardino County, the median home price rose 21.4 percent to a record $485,750, while sales fell 10 percent.
In San Diego County, the median home price rose 15.2 percent to $743,000, while sales fell 11.5 percent.
In Ventura County, the median home price rose 15.5 percent to $751,000, while sales fell 23.1 percent.
The median home price in the six-county region reached $688,500 in October, up by less than 1 percent from August. The rise in prices caused some residents to leave town.

[LAT] – Dana Bartholomew

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