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California home sales up in August, but calendar may get credit

Sales statewide rose 8.8% in August over July and were up 10.2% compared with the same month a year earlier. But the state's median home price dropped year-over-year for the 11th consecutive month.

September 17, 2011|By Alejandro Lazo
  • A sign outside a home for sale in Los Angeles in June is an indicator of the depressed market for housing, much of it consisting of so-called distressed properties.
A sign outside a home for sale in Los Angeles in June is an indicator of the… (Reed Saxon, Associated…)

California home sales jumped in August, but that was mostly due to a quirk in the calendar providing more business days than usual. The state's median home price dropped year-over-year for the 11th consecutive month.

Sales of so-called distressed properties — homes where the borrower was in default or where the property was in foreclosure — continued to make up more than half of California's market for previously owned homes, according to a report by the real estate information firm DataQuick of San Diego.

Sales statewide rose 8.8% in August over July and were up 10.2% compared with the same month a year earlier. A total of 34,239 properties in the Golden State sold last month; 52% of those sales were in Southern California.

"The sliver of positive news here is that, no matter how you look at it, last month's sales beat the year-ago numbers, which were pretty lousy," DataQuick President John Walsh said in a statement. "Lower prices and mortgage rates lured some home buyers off the sidelines last month, but too many others lacked the confidence to step into the game."

The median price, the point at which half the homes sold for less and half for more, declined 1.2% in August from July and dropped 4.2% from the same month a year earlier to $249,000. The state's median home price remained 12.7% above the most recent bottom, hit in April 2009.

alejandro.lazo@latimes.com

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