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SoCal Housing Prices Hit 7-Year High But No One's Left to Buy

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The median housing price continues to rise in SoCal and has hit a new post-recession high, but at least the ascent is slowing, according to the latest numbers from DataQuick. Southern California's median sales price for new and resale houses and condos was $415,000 last month—the highest it's been since June 2008, when it was also $415,000—but that's only a mere 7.8 percent over June 2013's median. That's the first single-digit year-over-year increase in 22 months. What's up with that? It seems like the relatively low mortgage rates, the "pent-up demand" for houses, and an improving economy should all be translating to faster median price gains, but they're not.

An analyst with DataQuick says that increasing unaffordability acts like "gravity for home prices," and that now that "risky" loans aren't as plentiful as they once were, people are more acutely aware of what they can and cannot buy—and they aren't buying. In all, June saw the sale of 20,654 new and resale houses and condos in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange Counties. That's up 5.6 percent from May, but a 4.4 percent drop from June 2013. The slow median price gain and more signals (the drop in sales of distressed properties and investors and cash sales) suggest what just might be an "ease toward normalcy" in the housing market here. Sure, sure.

· Southland Home Sales Down from Last Year Again; Price Gains Throttle Back [DQ]