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November 18, 2019

House prices rise 5.6% as low rates boost sales rebound for 2nd month

House prices rise 5.6% as low rates boost sales rebound for 2nd month 1

Southern California’s recent surge in home sales and prices continued into October, marking the second straight month of year-over-year sales gains in all six counties.

The median price of a resale house in the Los Angeles metro area – or the price at the midpoint of all sales – was $545,000 in October, unchanged from the previous two months but up 5.6% from the previous October, the California Association of Realtors reported Monday, Nov. 18.

Sales rose year over year for the second month in a row in the L.A. region – which includes L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Transactions increased 6.2% from October 2018 levels, the second-biggest gain among California metro areas, CAR reported.

The rebound from a sales drop in August likely reflects an increase in homebuying due to near-historically low mortgage interest rates, CAR reported.

“The California housing market continued to see gradual improvement in recent months as the current mortgage environment remains favorable to those who want to buy a home,” said CAR president Jeanne Radsick of Bakersfield. “With interest rates remaining historically low for the foreseeable future … homes are slightly more affordable.”

Orange County sales, normally hampered by higher-than-average home prices, saw sales jump 12.9% last month, the second-highest sales gain in the past three years.

Sales also were up in Los Angeles County (2.8%), Riverside County (6.8%) and San Bernardino County (4.7%).

Median house prices rose in all six counties in Southern California as well, led by San Bernardino County’s 10.4% jump to $319,000. Elsewhere:

  • L.A. County’s median was $647,890 in October, up 5.4%.
  • Orange County’s was $820,000, up 1.2%.
  • Riverside County’s was $420,000, up 5%.
  • Ventura County’s was $660,000, up 1.5%.
  • San Diego’s was $652,000, up 2.6%.

Southern California’s market data matched a pattern emerging statewide.

The statewide median rose 6% to $605,280, association economists reported, with sales up 1.9%. If sales remained at October’s pace for a year, California’s annualized total would be 404,240 transactions.

The high-cost San Francisco Bay Area was an exception to the statewide trend, with median house prices down 2% from October 2018 to $940,000. Bay Area prices have dropped in 10 of the past 11 months, with the resale house price falling from a record high of $1,050,000 in May 2018.

The average rate for a traditional 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.69 percent in October, down from 4.83 percent in October 2018, according to Freddie Mac. CAR reported it was the biggest one-year decrease in rates in a decade.

The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate was an average of 3.38 percent, compared to 4.08 percent a year earlier.



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