HOUSING: Prices rebound in June as buyers compete
By ERIC WOLFF, North County Times, July 16, 2012
The local housing market may be on the mend.
In North San Diego County, the median house price reversed a 16-month downward trend in June, climbing 4.4 percent from a year ago to top $470,000, according to a Realtors group.
And the median price increased in 13 of 21 Southwest Riverside County ZIP codes in June when compared with June 2011, according to a national Realtor database.
Observers credited rising prices to several factors: the usual summer influx of buyers looking for great deals, along with low mortgage interest rates, combined with a dramatic decline in the number of houses on the market.
“The inventory is very low,” said Danuta Bala, a San Marcos real estate broker. “All the properties are selling with multiple offers.”
For most of the year, real estate agents have been saying that low inventory has created bidding wars among buyers, and indeed, the number of listings in North County in June was 21 percent lower than it had been the year before, according to the North San Diego County Association of Realtors.
The number of listings in Southwest County was 59.4 percent fewer than the year before, according to Redfin, a national real estate company.
Bidding wars generally cause prices to rise, but they hadn’t until June, when the trend finally made its appearance. In North County, the median price of $470,000 for single-family houses was up 4.7 percent from May, and up 4.4 percent from June 2011, according to the Realtors association.
Redfin doesn’t calculate a median price for Southwest Riverside County, but it reported rising prices in 13 ZIP codes compared with a year ago, including a 13 percent increase in Temecula’s 92591 ZIP code.
The median house price in Riverside County rose 4.4 percent to $208,000, according to Redfin.
Home sales in June in North County jumped to 1,024, up 7 percent from May and up 21 percent from June 2011.
Southwest Riverside sales were flat at 1,215, up 1.5 percent from May and down 0.7 percent from 12 months earlier.
Low prices and mortgage interest rates below 4 percent are attracting buyers, but those same forces are keeping sellers on the sidelines, said Steve Torres, an Oceanside real estate agent.
“If you’re a traditional seller, you’re probably still thinking to yourself, ‘Is it worth my time now, or should I wait to see if the market brings anything better?’” he said.
Also, some homeowners are hoping one of the alphabet soup of federal and state programs will be able to let them stay in their homes.
“For those homeowners who are upside down (owing more than their home is worth), they’re hoping loan modification will be a success for them,” said Maricar Talag, a Temecula real estate agent.
A declining number of foreclosures have also held down the number of homes on the market, as there were fewer bank-owned homes for sale.
The number of foreclosures in both areas was less than a third of the peaks they hit in 2008, according to data from ForeclosureRadar.
CHART: House prices by North San Diego County ZIP
% Change in price
% Change in units sold
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