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1-in-7 Southern California home sellers are gone

By in Press Enterprise on October 10, 2017

By Jonathan Lansner

A local house hunter’s options continue to be squeezed as one in seven Southern California home sellers have disappeared from the market in just a year.

ReportsOnHousing says 30,097 existing residences were listed for sale in the four-county area as of Oct. 5. That’s down 4,967 in a year or 14 percent — a regional drop in supply roughly equal to all homes currently listed for sale in San Bernardino County.

Local buyers are frustrated by the inventory shortage — measured by new escrows opened in the past 30 days — which is down 5 percent in a year in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

And house hunters must act quickly to win a new home. ReportsOnHousing’s “market time” metric — measuring inventory vs. new escrows — estimated homes in the four counties take 70 days from listing to escrow as of Oct. 5 vs. 78 days a year ago. The report considers any measure under 90 days to be a seller’s market.

Considering a decent overall economy and relatively low mortgages rates from lenders willing to make mortgages, owners’ reluctance to sell is a bit of a mystery.

“This issue is everywhere,” says ReportsOnHousing’s analyst Steve Thomas, who is befuddled by slim inventory. “Please let me know when you figure it out.”

Various experts tie the shrinking count of sellers to everything from general stability in an aging population, the high cost and hassle of selling and moving, making staying and remodeling more attractive — all of which are leaving a seller with limited choices to replace the sold housing.

As a result, buyers are paying up. CoreLogic reports August’s median selling price for all residences — new and existing for the six-county Southern California area was up 7.5 percent in a year to $500,000. The median jumped 12.5 percent in San Bernardino […]    

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