Southern California home sales jump in August

Southern California home sales hit a 10-year high in August, indicating demand remains strong despite the soaring cost of housing in the region.
Buyers in the six-county area scooped up 23,278 new and existing houses and condos in August, nearly 10% more than a year earlier, data firm CoreLogic said Monday.The region’s median price, meanwhile, was flat compared with July, but at $465,000, is up 6.2% from a year earlier. The median — the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — hasn’t fallen on a 12-month basis in more than four years.
Indeed, the market has been on a steady upswing as job growth and historically low mortgage rates have juiced demand. The low cost of borrowing has also kept housing more affordable than during the bubble — if consumers can get a loan.The rising demand is boosting the confidence of home builders who are looking to take advantage of bidding wars that have arisen, also driven by a shortage of homes for sale.
A gauge of builder optimism in the U.S. single-family home market jumped six points this month, the National Assn. of Home Builders reported Monday.
In Southern California, sales rebounded in August from a dismal July, when deals fell nearly 11% from a year earlier.
CoreLogic had blamed much of that decline on the fact there were fewer business days than normal that month to record sales with county authorities.
August’s sales figures appear to bear out that analysis. Sales jumped 9.5% from a year earlier and rose in all counties.
CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage said the strong numbers could partly be explained by some deals being pushed to August that normally would have been recorded in July.
In Los Angeles County sales rose 5.4%, while prices climbed 6% to a median of $530,000. In Orange County, sales jumped 14.5% and prices rose 6.4% to $649,000.
Prices increased 7.1% in Riverside County; 1.9% in San Bernardino County; 7.1% in San Diego County; and 7.9% in Ventura County.
Many economists expect future home price increases to be smaller as more Californians struggle to afford a home.Written by andrew(dotted)khouri(at)latimes(dotted)com