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Housing Prices Keep Rising in Los Angeles and the Number of Sales Keeps Falling

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The housing market in Southern California continues to descend into a slump as prices rise and the number of sales falls, according to the most recent numbers from DataQuick and the California Association of Realtors. According to DQ, 4,738 houses and condos were sold in Los Angeles County in January, down 3.6 percent from January 2014. Meanwhile, the median price—$460,000—was up 12.2 percent over last year. Throughout the six SoCal counties, sales were 21.7 percent below the average for January (starting in 1988). CAR found pretty much the same thing throughout the state, and in a press release says that the market is "still bearing the scars of 2014's tight housing inventory and low housing affordability." Their data for the metro area (rather than the county) shows the number of sales dropped 7.1 percent over the past year and the median price rose 2 percent, to $387,530, but dropped from December's $413,150.

Meanwhile, here's one culprit for rising prices: investors and other "absentee buyers" bought a full quarter of the housing sold in January in Southern California. That's down from the peak of 32.4 percent in January 2013, but well above the average of 19 percent (starting in 2000). Buyers paying cash also accounted for nearly a quarter of sales, at 24.6 percent, which is remarkably "the lowest for any month since January 2009, when 22.0 percent of homes were bought with cash."

And not all sales are equal. The market continues to live a double life—the number of sales above $500,000 rose slightly, by 2 percent, but sales under $500,000 saw a double-digit drop—13.8 percent—and sales under $200,000 dropped by a third.
· Southern California Home Sales Decline; Median Sale Price Still Up Year Over Year [DQ]
· Unlike the Rest of LA's Housing Market, the Luxury Sector is Blowing Up [Curbed LA]