SoCal median home price up in May

LOS ANGELES For the past several months foreclosures have been the bulk of the home sales in the Southland, but that may be changing.

In fact, it looks like high end sales are now helping to drive home prices up.

Monty Iceman with Prudential Realty in Encino has several upper priced homes on the market and he's now seeing more activity despite the tight credit with lenders.

But home prices in the Southland are up in all counties. According to MDA DataQuick last month's median price in L.A. County rose 15 percent in a year to $345,000.

Riverside County saw a 17 percent increase to $210,000. San Bernardino County also rose 17 percent to $160,000. Orange County's median home price in May was $450,000. And Ventura County was $380,000.

Home sales in SoCal for the month of May are up too, according to DataQuick, 9.7 percent over April and 7.2 percent over May of last year.

But experts believe much of that is because of the federal government's homebuyer tax credit which came to an end on May 31.

And without that incentive new home construction is beginning to suffer. After two straight months of increases new construction tumbled 10 percent in the month of May.

Something that is trending higher over the past year is the flipping of homes. Last month 3.4 percent of the Southland homes had been flipped, that is, bought and sold within a six month period.

Some other good news in the housing market is mortgage interest rates are historically low with the average rate less than 5 percent. But you have to wonder how much longer those low rates will last.

On Wednesday, the Senate approved a plan to give homebuyers an extra three months to complete their purchases and still get the homebuyer tax credit.

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