San Diego Housing Starts Slowly as Buyer’s Season Begins in March

Beginning in March, San Diego County’s housing market is off to an extremely slow start. In fact, historically in the peak buying season, San Diego County is going off to one of its slowest starts, according to an article in the San Diego Union-Times.

According to DataQuick in the month of March, 3,057 homes were sold at the median price of $427,000. When you look at the year over year since March 2013, it was nearly a 20 percent drop, however since February – there was an increased amount of sales compared to March which was at $410,000 median price recording 2,541 sales.

However, since the Great Recession, March was the slowest for the month since 2009. The numbers are enhanced normally in March, because that’s when sales usually pick up and the weather gets a little better.

“The inventory of Holmes for sale remains thin in many markets,” said DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage to the Union-Times. “Investor purchases have fallen. The jump in home prices and mortgage rates over the past year has priced some people out of the market, while other would-be buyers struggle with credit hurdles.”

LePage also included in a separate statement to the Union-Times, “Also some potential move-up buyers are holding back while they weigh whether to abandon a phenomenally low interest rate on their current mortgage in order to buy a different home.”

University of San Diego professor of real estate, Norm Miller said to the Union-Times that, “It’s expected that real estate appreciation would slow. The housing market is returning to normalcy due to a decline in bank-owned home sales. The foreclosure resale made up five percent of homes sold in March, whereas in March 2011 they made up 33.2 percent of transactions.”

“As you lower the distressed sales, it looks like sales volume is down, but the point is it’s not really down. It’s just that these distressed sales are down and regular sales are probably doing just fine.”

According to Freddie Mac, The mortgage rates that have increased also may have something to do with appreciating drastically. In March 4.34 percent of the rate for the 30-year-fixed rated mortgage increased, and that is an uptick from 3.57 percent last year.

The San Diego Association of Realtors reports that since March 2013 in 4,265 listings were active while just last month, the active listings in San Diego County were at 6,223.

It’s very similar around Southern California. In six years SoCal homes faltered to their lowest levels in March in the last six years. Orange County housing prices were up at 14.9 percent with a median price of $580,000, while up at 14.5 percent, Los Angeles County pricing values are down to a median price of $435,000.

By Linda Moore

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