Tuesday, October 16, 2007

September Southland home sales lowest in more than 20 years

September Southland home sales lowest in more than 20 years
by Real Estate Analyst John Karevoll-->October 16, 2007

La Jolla,CA----Home sales in Southern California plunged to the lowest level in more than two decades, as financing with "jumbo" mortgages dropped by half. The median price paid for a home dropped sharply as a result, a real estate information service reported.
A total of 12,455 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in September. That was down 29.9 percent from 17,755 for the previous month, and down 48.5 percent from 24,195 for September last year, according to DataQuick Information Systems.
Last month's sales were the slowest for any month in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988. The previous low was in February 1995 when 12,459 homes sold. The September sales average is 25,258.
"Some of last month's drop was part of the longer-term slowing trend, but most of it was due to mortgage market turbulence and difficulties in getting jumbo financing. There's a good chance there will be some "catch-up" sales activity between now and the end of the year as jumbo loans become more available. Still, we can't expect the market to re-balance itself until sometime in 2008," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.
The number of Southland homes purchased with jumbo mortgages dropped from 5,359 in August to 2,681 in September, a decline of 50.0 percent. A jumbo mortgage is a home loan for $417,000 or more. For loans below that threshold, the sales decline was 19.3 percent, from 9,237 in August to 7,459 in September. Historically, sales drop by about 10 percent from August to September.
The median price paid for a Southland home was $462,000 last month, down 7.6 percent from $500,000 in August, and down 4.0 percent from $481,000 for September last year. If the jumbo-financed portion of the market had remained stable, last month's median would have been $487,000.
DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.
The typical monthly mortgage payment that Southland buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,198 last month, down from $2,422 the previous month, and down from $2,295 a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, current payments are about the same typical payments in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. They are 11.7 percent below the current cycle's peak in June last year.
Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity is at record levels, financing with adjustable-rate mortgages is flat, financing with multiple mortgages has declined significantly. Down payment sizes are stable, flipping rates and non-owner occupied buying activity is flat, DataQuick reported.

My comments:

For every foreclosure and distressed seller there is a happy buyer waiting for the right price/home. Prices will drop to levels that can be supported by the down payment and income of the borrower(s) using sensible mortgage financing. Every market is different. Every city and block has micro markets. I have always thought the national figures were meaningless. Comment as free speech is still in effect. You won't be carried out of the debate and pepper sprayed.


North Carolina Mortgage said...

wow.....that house looks like the house from the Wizard of Oz!

russ said...

don't forget the undisclosed incentives are not reflected in those sale price statistics (so I have been told). The incentives can be very large ~10-20%.

russ said...

Jim Cramer (Mad Money) said..

don't buy a home... you wil lose money

IMO low enough price is when the price to "own" is cheaper than the price to rent for comparable diggs. Lots of new houses can be rented for cheaper than ownership.

You've been warned

Anonymous said...

Lower Prices Are Good

Lower house prices are good for millions of people, but not for everyone.

Who wins and who loses as prices fall?

People who are moving will see little effect from falling prices. They will sell for less, but they will also get a discount on their new house. Whether they come out ahead depends on whether they are moving to a more or less expensive area.

New buyers win in a big way, since they will have much less debt, which means more money to enjoy life each month.

Old sellers lose in a big way, if they were counting on their house to fund their retirement. If they don’t have to sell though, lower prices don’t hurt them, and may help by giving them property tax reductions.

Local governments hate lower prices, because lower prices mean lower property taxes.

Lenders hate lower prices, because they live off of the interest on debt. More debt is better for banks.

This housing crash is the greatest opportunity to expand house ownership ever. Every foreclosure will be balanced by a house sold to someone else at a reasonable price — unless the federal government tries to “fix” the situation once again.