Housing prices in Los Angeles and Orange Counties have fallen further during the last year than in any other part of the nation, according to a survey released Tuesday by the National Assn. of Realtors.
The survey, which covered 132 metropolitan housing markets nationwide, found that the median resale price of a single-family home in the Anaheim-Santa Ana area fell to $219,900 in the second quarter--down 7.6% from $238,000 a year ago.
That was the biggest price drop registered in any housing market in the country, according to the real estate trade group, which conducts its survey quarterly.
Homeowners in Los Angeles County did not fare much better. The median price of a home in the region dropped to $202,300 in the second quarter from $216,600 a year earlier, a 6.6% decline that was the second-steepest drop.
Despite the price plunges in the past year, Southern California's housing remains among the most expensive in the nation. Only San Francisco and Honolulu have homes with higher median prices, according to the survey.
Brokers took the price declines in stride. "A 6% or 7% drop in prices (from a year ago) sounds accurate to me," said Jon Douglas, who owns 29 Jon Douglas Co. real estate offices scattered across Los Angeles County.
"The only thing that Southern California has had going for it lately is its weather--and even that was pretty lousy in July."
"We were at the top of the heap in the late '80s, when prices were going up 15% or 20% a year, so it's no surprise to find us near the bottom of the pile now," added Leslie Appleton-Young, economist for the California Assn. of Realtors.
"California's housing market used to be the locomotive that led other markets out of recession. This time, it looks like we're going to be the caboose."
Fred Flick, an economist who helped to compile the report, noted that "Southern California is still suffering from aerospace and construction layoffs, (military) base-closings and last year's riots. The worst might be over, but (the price report) shows that some damage has obviously been done."
Values of older homes have been hurt by aggressive price reductions in the new-home market, analysts said. Builders have been slashing their prices and offering special incentives to sell their slow-moving houses, which has depressed values of existing homes even further.
Donna Sutton, a Tustin-area broker and president of the East Orange County Assn. of Realtors, said her firm has a client who paid $154,000 for his condo just two months ago.
"He has to sell because he has been transferred, but the same models in the new phase of his condo complex are priced $5,000 less than he paid, so he has to sell at a loss," Sutton said.
Prices in the four other major California housing markets surveyed by the national trade group also fell.
The median price of a home in Sacramento in the second quarter was $129,700, down 3.6% from a year earlier. San Diego's median price of $178,900 was down 2.9%, while San Francisco's median of $256,400 was down 1.9%.
The median price of a home in the Riverside-San Bernardino area was $135,000 in the second quarter, off 1% from a year earlier.
Times staff writer John O'Dell contributed to this report.
Down in California
Home prices fell in all metropolitan areas of California during the second quarter, with Orange County taking the biggest hit. Below are preliminary median resale prices for single-family homes from April through June, followed by the percentage change from the same quarter of 1992.
Median Percent Area price change Anaheim-Santa Ana $219,900 -7.6 Los Angeles 202,300 -6.6 Riverside-San Bernardino 135,000 -1.0 Sacramento 129,700 -3.6 San Diego 178,900 -2.9 San Francisco 256,400 -1.9
Here's how other metropolitan areas compare:
Median Percent Area price change Chicago 139,700 +1.2 Dallas 95,800 +4.0 Denver 104,700 +9.5 New York 175,100 -0.2 Seattle 150,500 +3.2
Source: National Assn. of Realtors