Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In 2010, SoCal Housing On the Mend: Los Angeles County Median Home Price Up 5.9% Year-Over-Year, Sales Up 31%

The Los Angeles Times reported that the median home price in the five-county Southern California region rose 4% to $289,000 -- the first year-over-year gain since prices started collapsing 2-1/2 year ago.

Certainly, the median home price is 43% below the peak price of $505,000 attained in 2007. But the simultaneous trends of rising prices and increasing sales indicate a recovering market.

In terms of a percentage of the overall market, sales of $500,000 or more rose from 16.5% a year ago to 20.2% in December 2009, showing that this higher-end segment is also experiencing more activity.

Many argue that the higher prices and increased sales are spurred by two, government-backed programs: an $8,000 Buyer Credit and interest rates that have been artificially lowered through stepped-up purchases of mortgage-backed securities. The market could sputter once these two measures are terminated mid-year.

Others contend that low prices and diminished threat of economic meltdown are driving buyers to "get into the market".

Whichever view you hold, it's clear -- at least for now -- that the market is in an upswing.