Could the real estate market bottom finally be here? A recent report shows that the median sales price in Southern California has stopped falling — at least for one month. In some places values have even started to rise again. Although it is easy to get excited about this report, Tim Iacono does offer some warning in his blog post below.
Dataquick reported February real estate sales data for Southern California earlier today and it looks as though the median price stopped declining for the first time in almost two years.
After dropping to a six-year low last month, the median price across all of Southern California held steady at just $250,000 - that still sounds like a lot of money.
You'd likely agree if you've ever seen a median home in Southern California.
As shown above, prices in all six counties are now down more than forty percent from their peak and San Berdoo looks as though it may crack the minus 60 percent threshold as soon as next month.
Median home prices going back to late 2002 are shown below - note that both San Diego and Orange County posted advances from January to February.
Since Marshall "almost all if not all of those gains are here to stay" Prentice is now retired, new DataQuick President John Walsh provides the commentary:
The market is so tilted away from normal mainstream activity that it's impossible to generalize or predict based on the atypical patterns we're seeing. That means that normal demand and supply is building up. The floodgates could open once mortgage credit starts to open up.
Well, maybe if the banks sense that things are stabilizing a bit, we'll see a flood of bank-owned properties on the market, but it's hard to imagine you really need floodgates to hold back demand right about now given the state of the local economy.
Foreclosures were said to account for 56.4 percent of all February sales, unchanged from last month, up from a 36.2 percent share a year ago.
These distressed sales have contributed to year-over-year price declines that now far exceed any of the annual gains a few years back, prices in the Inland Empire continuing to plunge while declines in other areas slow.
Pricing in my old stomping ground of Ventura County have improved dramatically over the last couple months, from an annual decline of 36 percent in December to a drop of just 27 percent in February.
In the words of inimitable groundskeeper Carl Spackler from the 1980 movie classic Caddyshack, "So we got that goin' for us, which is nice".
This post can also be viewed at themessthatgreenspanmade.blogspot.com.