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Southern California’s home price rose 15% to an all-time high

Southern California home prices reached double-digit gains for a seventh straight month in February, hitting all-time highs in four counties and in the region as a whole, a new housing report shows.

The median price of a Southern California home – or the price at the midpoint of all sales – hit a record $619,750, up 14.8% or nearly $80,000 from February 2020, according to figures released Tuesday, March 23, by DQ News/CoreLogic.

That’s the eighth-largest 12-month price gain in the past three decades.

Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties all recorded record-high median prices as well.

Sales volume also saw double-digit growth in February, with 18,344 homes changing hands last month, up 17.6%, DQ News/CoreLogic figures show. That’s the highest sales tally for the month of February since 2006.

Low mortgage rates continued to boost buying power and homebuyer demand, creating stiff bidding wars that pushed up prices just as the number of homes for sale fell to their lowest level in nearly 16 years.

Rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.74% in the three months ending in February vs. 3.60% a year earlier.

Hence, even though the median price increased nearly 15% in the past year, monthly loan payments rose just 2.9% for buyers putting 20% down, increasing from $1,965 to $2,022 a month.

Mortgage rates rebounded slightly this month, however, rising as high as 3.09% last week. Some fear that could chill homebuying and cause price gains to moderate somewhat. But not enough to cause a shift from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market, Reports On Housing author Steve Thomas wrote in his latest analysis.

“This is a shift from a housing market that is currently nuts, appreciating at about 1% per month, to a regular hot seller’s market with a normal 4-5% appreciation per year,” Thomas wrote.

The latest median breaks the record of $610,000 set in September. The double-digit gains of the past seven months was the longest such upswing since 23-month streak in 2012-14.

Median prices for existing houses and condos likewise hit all-time highs. The median house price topped out at $660,000 in Southern California, with median condo prices now at at $520,000.

In Orange County, median house prices broke the $900,000 barrier, clocking in at $910,000 last month. Condo prices were closing in on $600,000 in both Los Angeles and Orange counties. The L.A. condo median was $575,000, while Orange County’s condo median rose to $595,000.

The biggest price gains occurred in the Inland Empire, however, which also had some of the region’s biggest sales gains. Median prices rose 17.7% to a record $412,000 in San Bernardino County and 16.5% to a record $465,000 in Riverside County.

Here’s a county-by-county breakdown of February’s median prices and sales:

  • Los Angeles County: $708,500, up 14.3%. Sales totaled 5,667, up 19.1%.
  • Orange County: $820,000 (a record high), up 9.6%. Sales totaled 2,725, up 13%.
  • Riverside County: $465,000 (a record high), up 16.5%. Sales totaled 3,445, up 18.3%.
  • San Bernardino County: $412,000 (a record high), up 17.7%. Sales totaled 2,451, up 21.5%.
  • San Diego County: $672,750 (a record high), up 14.6%. Sales totaled 3,231, up 13.8%.
  • Ventura County: $650,000, up 13.0%. Sales totaled 825, up 23.9%.

Source: Orange County Register

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