Southern California Home Prices Climb to a 20-Month High

Southern California home prices rose in May to their highest level in 20 months as costlier properties in coastal areas made up a bigger share of sales, DataQuick said.

The median price for houses and condominiums in the six-county region increased to $295,000, up 1.7 percent from April and 5.4 percent from May 2011, the San Diego-based data seller said today in a statement. Sellers who’d been holding out for higher prices are becoming more willing to make deals so they can buy more desirable properties, DataQuick said.

“It looks like more move-up buyers are concluding it makes sense in the long run to sell their homes now, even when it’s hard to swallow the price,” DataQuick President John Walsh said in the statement. “The upside for many is a good deal on the next house, and the ability to lock in both a killer mortgage rate and a relatively low property-tax base.”

A total of 22,192 homes sold last month in Southern California, up 15 percent from April and 21 percent from May 2011. About 70 percent of those sales were in coastal San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties, up from less than 68 percent a year earlier, the company said.

Homes priced at $500,000 or more made up more than 22 percent of transactions, up from 21 percent both the previous month and a year earlier, and the highest portion since July 2010, DataQuick said. Distressed deals including foreclosures accounted for less than 45 percent of the total, the lowest since March 2008.

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