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Sales drop, but no cooling off for the housing market

By in Press Enterprise on August 29, 2017

By Fielding Buck

The housing heat wave won’t break.

Southern California faced another month of drying-up inventory, shrinking sales and rising prices, according to CoreLogic’s report for July.

Sales plunged from June, but research analyst Andrew LePage noted that June sales were the highest for that month in 11 years.

Six counties saw 21,065 new and resale houses and condos sell in July; 3,527 of the sales were in Riverside County and 2,699 were in San Bernardino County.

Riverside County sales dropped 17.9 percent month over month but were up 1.5 percent year over year. The median sale price was $365,000, up 2.2 percent from June and 9 percent from July 2016.

San Bernardino County sales dropped 16.7 percent month over month but were up 3.8 percent year over year. The median sale price was $305,000, down 4.7 percent from $320,000 in June but up 7 percent from July 2016.

Southern California’s median was $501,000, the highest since July 2007, when it was $505,000.

Homes costing $500,000 or more accounted for slightly more than half the sales, while sales of $1 million houses rose 14.5 percent year over year. Sales of homes for less than $200,000 plummeted 21.1 percent.

Similarly, financing is going to more expensive homes.

There was a 15.1 percent rise in jumbo mortgages year over year and a 2.1 decline in in Federal Housing Administration loans.

Jumbo mortgages exceed regulated loan limits. In Riverside and San Bernardino counties, as in most California counties, that limit is $424,100. But in high-priced counties, such as San Francisco and Marin, that limit can be as much as $636,150.

Government-insured FHA loans also have limits. In Riverside and San Bernardino counties they are $379,500, slightly above the medians.

Of the six counties, Riverside and San Bernardino have the highest share of FHA loans. In July, they accounted for 27.3 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

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