Southern California Home Prices Rise Slightly in May, First Monthly Increase Since July 2007
LA TIMES (front page of today's Business Section) -- Southern California's median home price rose slightly in May for the first time in nearly two years. But the increase was more reflective of a change in the types of homes sold than an end to falling values, a real estate research firm reported Wednesday. The $249,000 median price in May was up less than 1% from April's $247,000 figure, and marked the fifth-straight month the median has held at roughly $250,000, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.
The modest rise reflects increasing purchases at the high end of the housing market, where sales have been virtually frozen. For much of the last year, most home sales have occurred in the low end of the housing market, with banks unloading foreclosed properties at deep discounts, dragging the median price down. Now, more expensive properties are selling, which raises the median, through a market paradox: many of those homes sold after owners cut prices to lure buyers. Still, stirring sales activity at the high end is a sign that the market is crawling toward equilibrium.
The April-to-May Southern California median price increase was the first month-to-month gain since July 2007, when it moved from $502,000 to $505,000, which was the market's peak.