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Southern California home prices rise in December

Real estate broker Chris Habitz modifies a sign on a property that was just sold on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.
January 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
New numbers show a strong December for home sales and predictions that 2013 could be better for the local real estate market

Burbank real estate broker Chris Habitz says multiple offers on a single home are becoming more common, much like it was about six years ago at the peak of the market.

"We're seeing, definitely, a spike in the amount of activity," Habitz said.

Home sales in the six counties of Southern California are on the rise. In December 2011, 19,247 homes were sold in Southern California.. But this past December, 20,274 home sold, making it a 5 percent increase year to year. That's the highest number of sales in three years, according to DataQuick's latest numbers out Tuesday.

One reason for the surge in sales is inventory. There isn't much out there for sale right now. Drive down most streets and you'll have a tough time finding a home for sale. Even foreclosures and short sales are in lean supply.

In Orange County alone, there were 3,357 distressed homes on the market in 2011, according to the Orange County Housing Report. In 2012, there were 434.

As a result of fewer homes for sale and plenty of buyers out there tired of renting, sellers are seeing the median price of their homes going up.

"Some properties are going upwards of $15,000-$20,000 over the asking price," Habitz said.

DataQuick says the median price of a home in December 2011 was $270,000. This past December, it was $323,000, up nearly 20 percent year to year.

Many of the buyers driving prices up are paying cash and often get the property before all others.

"What I tell my clients when I meet them who are looking to buy is they need to have a lot of patience," Habitz said. "They may not take the first one or two offers, they may not get accepted, but eventually they will get something."

For sellers, price your property right and make sure your home shows well.


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