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Southland housing slump extends into March

April 13, 2011 |  9:56 am

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Southern California's housing market lacked vitality in March, a sign that the year could be a lackluster one for the region’s housing market as shoppers continue to sit out buying despite high affordability.

The median price of a home in the Southland was $280,500 in March, a 2% increase from February and a decline of 1.6% from March 2010, according to DataQuick of San Diego.

Sales were down 5.2% from March 2010. Sales were up 35.1% from February, though sales always spike from February to March. Buyers snapped up a total of 19,412 new and previously owned homes last month.

Sales so far this year are 20% below the average. Sales of newly built Southland homes totaled 1,144, the lowest for a month in DataQuick’s statistics, which go back to 1988.

“As an indicator of upcoming trends, the month of March is actually pretty reliable,” DataQuick president John Walsh said. “We got off to a slow start with sales this year and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.”

Sales of foreclosed homes made up 36.4% of the resale market last month, down from a revised 37% in February and 38.3% in March 2010.

Short sales, where a bank allows the property to be sold for less than the value of the mortgage, made up an estimated 18.5% of the resale market, down 19.6% from February but up from 18% in March 2010.

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-- Alejandro Lazo

Photo: A newly built townhome is offered for sale in Pasadena.

Credit: Associated Press

 

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