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If You Can Still Afford to Buy a House in SoCal, You're in Luck

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Yes, sales of single-family houses and condos in Southern California hit a five-year high in September, but barely, says stats firm DataQuick, which is pretty remarkable considering that prices keep shooting up too. There were 19,348 new and formerly-owned units sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties last month, which is a modest 2.9 percent increase from last month. The median price for all five counties, at $413,000, was down two percent from August, but is still higher than September of last year. In just Los Angeles, 6,717 units sold, up 3.4 percent from last September, and the median price was up a significant 7.2 percent, to $455,500.

Still, prices could be going up even higher, if anyone could afford them, according to Andrew LePage, an analyst for DataQuick, in a release of the numbers today: "Price appreciation has dipped into single-digit territory as more would-be buyers get priced out, investors back off and incomes rise modestly at best." And that's good news for anyone who can still afford to buy, he adds: "Today's home shoppers are more likely to find a less-crowded market with fewer intense multiple-offer situations and more serious, realistic sellers."

September was the first month since 2012 that none of the six counties saw double-digit increases in the median sale price over the same month in 2013. (They all had single-digit increases and Orange County came really close to two digits, with 9.3 percent increase over September 2013.)

· Southland Home Sales Edge Higher; Price Growth Slows [DQ]
· DataQuick [Curbed LA]