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California housing market slump persists through February

February's state housing market is marked by mixed prices and weak sales as the median home price falls on a year-over-year basis for the fifth straight month.

March 18, 2011|By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times

California's housing market extended its slump in February with mixed prices and weak sales despite strong investor interest in Southern California and the Bay Area.

The Golden State's median home price was $244,000, up 2.1% from the prior month but down 2.0% from February 2010, according to DataQuick Information Systems. The state's median price — the point at which half of the homes sold for more and half for less — has fallen on a year-over-year basis for five consecutive months after 11 months of gains.

February sales tallied 27,320, a drop of 1.4% from January and 2.8% from February 2010. Nearly 60% of the resale market last month consisted of distressed sales — foreclosures and so-called short sales, in which a bank allows a troubled borrower to sell a home for less than the outstanding mortgage debt.

Foreclosures made up 40.1% of the market, down from 40.4% in January and 44.3% in February 2010. Short sales made up 18.9% of the market last month, up from 18.7% in January and 17.6% a year earlier.

In Southern California, February's median home price increased 1.9% from January to $275,000. That was unchanged from the same month a year earlier. Sales fell 0.6% from January and 6.4% from February 2010.

The Bay Area's median home price in February was $337,250, down 0.2% from the month before and 4.7% lower from February 2010. Sales were up 0.5% from January but down 0.9% from February 2010.

alejandro.lazo@latimes.com

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