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California median home sale price slides in June

The 2.9% drop from May to $270,000 reflects a shift to sales in less expensive markets and is still a 9.8% increase from a year earlier, housing data firm says.

July 16, 2010|By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times

California's median home sale price fell 2.9% in June compared with May even as sales picked up with buyers closing on purchases made during a spring season fueled by state and federal tax credits.

The median sale price in the Golden State was $270,000 last month for all new and resale houses, town homes and condominiums, according to San Diego real estate research firm MDA DataQuick. While that was lower than in May, the median was up 9.8% from June 2009, marking eight consecutive year-over-year increases.

"It looks like there was a meaningful shift in June toward a greater share of sales in the less expensive markets, and that can tug down the median," DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage said. "We never try to make too much out of a single month's increase or decrease in the median, especially on a month-to-month basis. If the trend persists for three to six months, then it's probably telling us something very meaningful."

A total of 43,964 homes were sold statewide last month, a 7.3% jump from May but a 0.5% decline from June 2009. A bright spot: Foreclosures as a percentage of the resale market were down considerably from the depths of the economic downturn, comprising 34.7% of the market in June. Foreclosure sales peaked at 58.5% of the market in February 2009.

Economists believe the effects of federal and state tax credits are beginning to wane. A federal tax credit that offered up to $8,000 for certain buyers required home purchase contracts to be signed by April 30 and buyers to close their deals by Sept. 30. Californians can take advantage of a separate state credit for first-time buyers and purchasers of new homes that kicked in May 1.

The state credit allotted $200 million of taxpayer money for buyers, $100 million for each category of purchaser. The state Franchise Tax Board said it has received applications totaling more than $100 million for the first-time buyer credit, but was still accepting applications because so many were "duplicate, revised or invalid." The cap for the new home credit hasn't been reached, the board said.

Southern California's housing market held its ground last month, with 23,871 homes selling in the six-county region, a 7.2% jump from May and a 2.6% increase from June 2009, DataQuick said Tuesday. The median price was $300,000 in June, a 1.6% drop from May but a 13.2% increase from June 2009.

The San Francisco Bay Area, on the other hand, registered its third-worst home sale performance for a June in 15 years. A total of 8,373 homes sold, an increase of 1.3% from May but a 3.1% decline from June 2009. The Bay Area's median price was $410,000 in June, the same as in May, and an increase of 16.5% from June 2009.

alejandro.lazo@latimes.com

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