SOCAL HOME SALES RISE 5%
Southern California home prices rose slightly in May, while sales jumped during the busy spring buying season.
The median sale price for the six-county Southland was $426,000, up 2.2% from a year earlier, CoreLogic said Wednesday. It was the smallest gain in three years, according to the firm.
That small increase represents a market in which buyers have difficulty bidding up homes to everhigher prices, CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage said.
“It’s affordability and credit restraints,” LePage said. “Credit is still moderately constrained, and a lot of people have temporarily been priced out.... Prices came a long way in a relatively short period of time.”
The nature of the median price — the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — also played a role in the 2.2% increase. A greater share of homes sold in more affordable areas last month than a year earlier, LePage said.
But sales are improving after a lethargic 2014. Buyers scooped up 21,644 new and resale houses and condos last month, 5% more than a year earlier. It was the third straight month that sales increased.
Real estate agents say they are busy because buyers are looking to lock in low mortgage rates before the Federal Reserve gets around to raising its benchmark short-term interest rate this year or in 2016.
An improved economy has also provided a jolt by giving people more confidence to make a purchase, experts say.
Home sales climbed Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and San Diego counties.
In L.A. County, sales rose 1.4% from May 2014, while the median price climbed 5.4% to $485,000. In Orange County, sales were up 7.4% and the median price edged up 2.5% to $610,000.