Southern California home sales surge in August

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Home sales across Southern California during August hit their highest level for that month in a decade, while prices remained at a nine-year high, a market tracker said Monday.

Last month sales of new and previously owned houses and condominiums in the six-county region increased 9.5 percent from a year earlier to 23,278 properties, said Irvine-based CoreLogic. Sales rose 8 percent from July.

The median price increased 6 percent from August 2015 to $465,000, and was unchanged from July.

The median price has held steady at its current level since June, CoreLogic said.

Both sales and the median price increased from their year-ago level in all six counties.

The median sales price has risen year over year for 53 consecutive months. It is now 8 percent below the peak median of $505,000 reached in March, April, May and July of 2007.

Part of the reason for the increase in August’s sales total was a quirk in the calendar, according to CoreLogic data analyst Andrew LePage.

“This July had five weekends and fewer business days than usual, probably resulting in a significant number of transactions being recorded in August rather than July,” LePage said. “The big picture is that the housing market continues to edge back toward normalcy in the wake of the worst housing bust in modern history.”

CoreLogic’s report showed that:

• In Los Angeles County, sales increased 5 percent from a year earlier to 7,725 properties, and they were up 6 percent from July.

• The median price increased 6 percent from a year ago to $530,000 and fell $2,000 from July. The county’s median is now 4 percent under the record $550,000 reached in May and August of 2007.

• In San Bernardino County, sales rose 8 percent from a year ago to 2,812 properties and were also up 8 percent from July.

• The median price rose 2 percent from a year earlier to $275,000 and slipped 3.5 percent from July. San Bernardino’s median price is now 28 percent under its record $380,000 set in November of 2006.

“They got hammered a lot harder than the coastal markets (during the recession), so they have a larger gap to close,” LePage said.

Region-wide cash buyers accounted for 20 percent of August sales, down from 22 percent a year earlier and up from 19.5 percent in July, CoreLogic said.



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