Foreclosure Resales Count for Half of Growing SoCal Home Sales

Southern California home sales jumped 65 percent in September from a year ago, as plummeting prices lured more buyers, a real estate tracking firm said Monday.

Last month's median home price in the six-county region fell 33.2 percent to $308,500 in the six-county region, compared to $462,000 in September 2007, San Diego-based MDA DataQuick said.

Foreclosure resales amounted to half of all transactions last month.

The sales total easily surpassed the dismal, record lows of a year ago, when a credit crunch began slamming the brakes on home financing.

"The pitifully low September 2007 sales numbers weren't tough to beat," said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.

Steep price declines, especially inland, have improved housing affordability and could keep sales levels well above the record lows seen late last year and early this year, he said, However, sales will be affected by the severity of this economic downturn, he said.

The September median price stood 38.9 percent below the peak $505,000 median reached in spring and summer of last year.

A total of 20,497 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the region last month, up 5.8 percent from 19,366 in August and up 64.6 percent from 12,455 in September 2007.

Last month's sales were the highest for any month since December 2006 and the year-over-year gain was the highest for any month in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988.

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