Southern California home sales surged in July, rising to an eight-year high for that month as buyers found more homes for sale. The median sale price held steady with the prior month but rose nearly 26 percent from a year earlier, marking the seventh consecutive month with a year-over-year gain exceeding 20 percent, a real estate information service reported.
A total of 25,419 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 17.6 percent from 21,608 sales in June, and up 23.5 percent from 20,588 sales in July 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
In a sign of continued market confidence, Southern California home buyers continue to put near-record amounts of their own money into residential real estate. In July they paid a total of $5.39 billion out of their own pockets in the form of down payments or cash purchases. That was up from $5.25 billion in June and up from $3.61 billion a year ago.
It appears that the bulk of July’s 25.8 percent year-over-year gain in the Southland median sale price reflects rising home prices, while a small portion – perhaps one-fifth – reflects a change in market mix. (This change consists of a big increase in mid- to high-end sales and a big decline in sales of lower-cost distressed properties.)
In July, 33.1 percent of all Southland home sales were for $500,000 or more, down a bit from a revised 34.0 percent of sales in June and up from 23.0 percent a year earlier. Last month’s share of over-$500,000 sales was the second-highest – behind June – since February 2008, when 34.2 percent of all sales crossed that price threshold.
Buyers paying with cash accounted for 29.4 percent of last month’s home sales, down from 30.5 percent the month before and down from 31.8 percent a year earlier. The cash share of purchases has declined each month since hitting an all-time peak of 36.9 percent this February.