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California housing numbers favor buyers over sellers

August 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Despite Monday's strong Wall Street numbers, the economy has a long way to recovery. New numbers on the local housing market show a drop in both home sales and prices.

The numbers basically come down to this: If you are a home buyer then you are probably going to pay less for a home this month than you would have last month. But if you are a home seller, you are probably going to have to wait a while until you can find a buyer.

Drive down any neighborhood street and you'll see very few houses for sale and for good reason. According to the latest numbers by DataQuick on home sales, Southern California had the weakest July in four years.

"I know things are really slow, I've had friends recently who were purchasing homes and it took them a long time to find something because the inventory, what's available is limited," said Burbank resident Laura Chambers.

Slow is right. In June, DataQuick reported sales of more than 20,000 homes. Not a great number historically. But last month in July it was even worst at just over 18,000 homes sold in Southern California. That's down nearly 12 percent in just one month.

Although in a tough market, Dede Moss has a cute Tudor-style home in Burbank for sale right now.

"Everybody's moved on and it's time for a change," said Moss.

But she says the house is in escrow. She says two things helped to get the offer: Maintaining the yard, and more importantly, the right price.

And pricing right means pricing lower than your expectations, because home prices are down quite a bit too.

In Los Angeles County the median home price is $320,000, down 5.6 percent from July 2010.

In Orange County median home prices are down 2.8 percent to $437,500.

Riverside was hit hard too, according to DataQuick. The median is $190,000, down 5 percent from last year.

San Bernardino is 2.6 percent down and Ventura slid 2.7 percent.

While that's bad news for home sellers it's good news for home buyers.

But the only problem there is, with unemployment up and a sour economy at hand, those buyers would rather rent and that adds to housing problems.


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