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December 17, 2019

Southern California house prices jump 7.5% in November, Realtors report

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Southern California house prices jumped 7.5% in the 12 months ending in November, the biggest gain in the state, an industry group reported Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Sales gains also led the state, with existing single-family home transactions rising 4.6% last month from the November 2018 tally, the California Association of Realtors’ analysis of multiple listing service data showed.

The gains marked the third straight month of a market rebound in the region after a year-long mortgage-rate nosedive finally caught the attention of home shoppers.

“A favorable lending environment continues to draw interest from buyers who want to take advantage of low rates,” said 2020 CAR President Jeanne Radsick of Bakersfield. “The upper end of the market, in particular, is showing some welcomed improvement in recent months as both sales and prices posted mild growth from a year ago in November.”

Following a sales slump that started in late 2018, housing economists predicted in June the housing market would see sustained sales gains by the end of the year. That forecast appears to be coming true.

“We’re seeing a more robust market in the second half of the year, driven primarily by the lowest interest rates in nearly three years,” said CAR Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “While uncertainties and supply constraints will continue to dictate the market outlook in 2020, the California housing market will likely wrap up 2019 in slightly better shape than previously thought.”

Orange County – until the fall, the region’s most sluggish housing market – saw the biggest sales gains in the region, with transactions up 6.9%. The median price of a single-family Orange County home – or price at the midpoint of all sales — rose 3.4% year over year to $822,000.

Los Angeles County had the region’s biggest price gains, with the median price charging upward 7.4% to $594,840 while sales rose 5.1%.

The median price increased 6.3% to $425,000 in Riverside County and 5.2% to $315,000 in San Bernardino County. Transactions increased 4% in Riverside County and fell 4% in San Bernardino County.

Statewide, the median price rose 6.4% to $589,770 from year-ago levels. Sales of existing, single-family detached homes reached an annualized total of 402,880 in California, up 5.6 percent from November 2018 home sales.

Both prices and sales numbers fell from October levels throughout the state, which is typical this time of year as buyers and sellers shift their attention toward the holidays.

Meanwhile, buyers are finding the region’s housing market increasingly competitive as fewer homeowners list their properties for sale. As of last Thursday, the L.A.-San Diego County region had 33,339 homes for sale, according to ReportsOnHousing, the lowest number since April 2018.

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