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SoCal Housing Sales Plummet 'Cause No One Can Afford to Buy

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Southern California housing sales are plummeting and the market "show[s] little signs of rebounding," says the LA Times. Sure, sales have been down since October, but the year-over-year drop in July was an enormous 12.4 percent in the six SoCal counties and down 12.5 percent in just Los Angeles—that leaves the number of sales at a three-year low, say the number-crunchers at DataQuick. And, as we've been told time and time again, these droopy sales figures are largely the result of huge increases in housing prices; there are just not a lot of people who can afford to buy, no matter how bad they'd like to. "Prices came a long way in a couple of years, and now a lot of would-be buyers just can't stretch their finances enough to buy in today's more conservative lending environment," a DataQuick analyst says. The median sales prices in SoCal ticked up 7.3 percent in July, to $413,000; the Los Angeles median price increased 7.6 percent, to $457,500.

The numbers are extra-slumpy as a result of the decline in distressed sales, which is a good thing if you're anyone besides an investor or someone looking for an incredible bargain on a foreclosed house. Once those sales are taken out of the data, "conventional" sales only fell 2.8 percent. Is this all part of the long return to so-called normalcy in the housing market? Maybe next month's numbers will answer that.