Home sales, prices up in Southern California; IE seeing demand


More than 22,000 homes sold in Southern California in August, showing a 14 percent increase from a year ago. The median price rose more than 10 percent to $309,000.

While California still ranks third in the nation in foreclosures, there are positive signs the housing market is starting to regain some steam.

In the Inland Empire, realtor Dan Griffith says the demand for existing homes is outpacing the supply.

"There is a lot of demand, there are buyers that want to buy and lenders that want lend, but there is just not enough homes for them to buy right now," he said.

For instance, one home in Rancho Cucamonga sold in just four days and had multiple offers. The hot real estate market has ignited bidding wars between investors flush with cash and first-time home buyers with a solid down payment.

Griffith says if a buyer is serious about a property, they should be prepared to offer more than the asking price.

"We don't expect prices to skyrocket like they did in the past, but we are seeing a steady increase in this area," said Griffith.

Real estate research firm DataQuick says low mortgage rates and fewer sales of foreclosed homes are helping to fuel the demand.

The median price for a home in San Bernardino County is $168,000, up by 12 percent from this same time last year. In Riverside County, the median price for a home is $210,000, up 10.5 percent over last year.

Existing homes are not the only ones benefiting from the surge in demand; construction of new homes is also taking off.

"The building here is going crazy, there filling up all the available lots and building multiple family homes," said Griffith.

There may be fewer for sale signs in neighborhoods, but Griffth says it's still a buyer's market -- with one exception.

"Because there is so little supply available they are pretty demanding what they want and getting it, so yes it is a perfect time to buy a house but the sellers are pretty much calling the shots," he said.

Realtors say while they believe the worst is over, the housing market is not out of the woods yet and still has a way to go.

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