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Southern California Home Prices Fall After Loan Limits Are Cut

Home prices in Southern California fell 4.2 percent last month from a year earlier as financing for high-end properties became harder to get, DataQuick said.

The median paid for houses and condominiums was $275,000 in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties, down from $287,000 in November 2010, the San Diego-based data seller said today in a report. Prices were up 1.9 percent from $270,000 in October.

Home sales of $500,000 or more declined almost 16 percent from a year earlier because of reduced loan limits in higher-priced markets that took effect Oct. 1, the company said. In Los Angeles and Orange counties, the limit was cut from $725,750 to $625,000.

“Part of it is the economy and would-be buyers’ uncertainty -- about jobs, home prices and a potential surge in foreclosed properties hitting the market,” DataQuick President John Walsh said in a statement. “Part of it’s the folks who can’t move up because they’re upside down with their mortgages. And many who want to buy more expensive homes struggle with the financing.”

Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, made up about 15 percent of last month’s purchase lending, down from about 18 percent a year ago, DataQuick said.

A total of 16,884 homes sold in the region last month, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier and 0.3 percent from October, driven by demand from first-time buyers and investors for properties priced below $400,000. The number of houses sold in that range rose 6.1 percent in November from a year earlier, DataQuick said.

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