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Southern California home sales and prices fall again in July

Home sales in Southern California fell to their lowest level for a July in four years -- though the decline from a year earlier was the smallest in 13 months. The median price was down 4% to $283,000.

The drop in sales from June was more pronounced, especially for houses that cost more than $500,000, as the job market sputtered, economic uncertainty intensified and some potential homebuyers got cold feet, real estate information service Dataquick said.

A total of 18,090 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in July. That was down 11.9% from 20,532 in June and down 4.5% from 18,946 in July 2010, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

“The latest sales figures look a bit worse than they really are, given this July was a fairly short month, but they still suggest some potential homebuyers got spooked,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. Azusa “Reports on the economy became increasingly downbeat and, no doubt, some people fretted over the possibility the country would default on its obligations.”

Prices also continued to slide. The median, the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less, has declined year-over-year for the past five months. It has been unchanged or lower than a year earlier each month since last December, when it posted a 0.3% annual increase.

“If there’s a shred of good news in the data it’s that last month’s sales weren’t much worse than a year earlier,” Walsh said. "For the first time in many months, we get an apples-to-apples comparison to year-ago sales, given that in July 2010 the market lost its crutch -- federal homebuyer tax credits.”

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--  Roger Vincent

Photo: Homes under construction in Southern California. Credit: Getty Images

 

 
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