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Hard Times in the Southland For Sales Above $500,000

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House sales in LA County were up in November over last year (5.8 percent), but house prices were down (5.2 percent), according to the latest from DataQuick. SoCal-wide (LA, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Orange), the number of sales over $500k is tumbling: "The number of homes that sold for less than $400,000 last month rose 6.1 percent from a year earlier, while transactions above $500,000 fell 15.7 percent. Above $800,000, sales fell 17.6 percent year-over-year. November sales fell 22.8 percent from a year earlier in the $600,000-$750,000 range, which in coastal counties was impacted by the recent lowering of conforming loan limits." Overall, only 17.8 percent of sales last month were for more than $500,000, which is the lowest share since May 2009 (a month earlier, in October, the share was the tiniest bit higher at 17.9 percent). At the low in January 2009, $500k-plus sales amounted to 13.8 percent of total sales, while the decade-long average is 27.9 percent. Meanwhile, 51.3 percent of sales of existing houses in SoCal were distressed (down from 53.4 percent last November), 31.7 percent of resales were foreclosures (down from 35.2 percent last November), and 19.6 percent of resales were short sales (up from 18.2 percent last November). And "absentee buyers" (meaning investors or vacation house buyers) accounted for 24.8 percent of all houses sold in SoCal in November, a "near-record."
· Southland November Home Sales Rise; Median Price Still Below Year Ago [DataQuick]