Southern California Home Prices are down 35%


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http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fi-housing20-2009jan20,0,3078806.story?track=rss
From the Los Angeles Times

Southern California home prices close out 2008 down 35%
The December median sales price falls to $278,000, remaining at 2003 levels, a real estate research firm reports.

By Peter Y. Hong

10:35 AM PST, January 19, 2009

Southern California home prices continued their decline at the end of 2008, closing the year at 2003 price levels, a real estate research firm reported today.

The December median sales price for all Southern California homes fell to $278,000, a 35% drop from the same month a year prior, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.

The falling prices were again driven by sales of foreclosed properties, which comprised 56% of all homes sold in the region. Consequently, the lowest median sales prices were reported in San Bernardino County ($180,000) and Riverside County ($209,000), where foreclosures have been rampant.

Los Angeles County’s median sales price of $320,000 was down 32% from December 2007, while Orange County’s median price fell 30% to $397,000. San Diego’s median price dropped 30% from December 2007, to $300,000. Ventura County’s $338,000 median December sales price was down 36% from the prior year.

Low prices drove the number of Southern California homes sold in December up by 51% over the previous year.

“It does look like the spigot is being opened a little bit, at least for low-cost home purchases,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Southland buyers committed themselves to paying was $1,239 last month, down from a revised $1,380 for the previous month, and down from a revised $2,060 for December year ago. Adjusted for inflation, current payments were 43.9% below typical payments in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. They were 54.0% below the current cycle’s peak in July 2007.

peter.hong@latimes.com

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