Prices Rose as Sales of Los Angeles Foreclosure Homes Slowed

by Donald Hanz on cities

Home prices improved in February as sales of Los Angeles foreclosure homes slowed, based on sales figures from a San Diego research firm.

The median price for homes in Los Angeles County surged in February by 5.4 percent to $315,000 compared to February last year. Price increases were even higher in other Southland areas, such as in San Diego County, where the median jumped by 13 percent and in Orange County, where the median price rose by 11.2 percent.

Bargain-hunters found it easy in February to find foreclosures as the percentage of distressed sales was still high at 42.3 percent of resale houses.

Across the Southland region, the median house sales price surged by 10 percent in February to $275,000, the third straight month that the median jumped up year-over-year. Analysts said that the median increased because the percentage of distressed sales decreased from 56.7 percent in February 2009 to 42.3 percent this year. The price median in February last year was $250,000 while the median in January was $271,500.

Mirroring the slowdown in Los Angeles County foreclosure, the pace of California foreclosures also slowed in February, posting a 4.5-percent drop from January and a 15.1-percent fall from February 2009.

Foreclosure activity is now easing statewide, as shown in the month-over-month and year-over-year decreases in January and February. The slowdown in the entry of Los Angeles foreclosure homes into the market was a significant factor. The Los Angeles metropolitan area accounted for 27.8 percent of total foreclosure postings in California last year.

Total sales of homes in Los Angeles County in February surged by 9.7 percent over February 2009 sales to 5,034 units. The median for these sales was $315,000, up by 5.4 percent compared to the $299,000 price median in February last year.

In Orange County, total home sales reached 1,986 units, up by 5.7 percent from 1,879 units in February last year. The sales price median was $417,000, up by more than 11 percent from the $375,000 median 12 months before.

In the entire Southern California region, total house sales in February reached 15,359 units, slightly up from the February 2009 sales of 15,231 units and just two units below the January sales of 15,361 units.

Despite a possible resurge in number of Los Angeles foreclosure homes, local brokers are optimistic that the California market can now absorb a higher distressed inventory because of the rising demand for homes.