Home Prices Dip in January

Southern California's median home price dipped 0.6 percent in January as record-low new-home sales, tougher credit requirements and a persistent reluctance among would-be buyers kept prices from appreciating over the previous year, a tracking firm said Tuesday.

San Diego-based DataQuick Information Systems said last month's median in the six-county region fell to $270,000 from $271,500 in January 2010, and it dropped 6.9 percent from $290,000 in December.

DataQuick President John Walsh said a disproportionate number of homes were being snapped up by investors, many of whom were paying all cash for distressed properties.

"Sales were lousy, but many investors and others looking for bargains stayed active," Walsh said. "They kept working the distress-heavy, lower-cost markets through the holidays, which translated into a relatively high level of investor and cash deals closing last month."

Home sales fell 5.9 percent from 15,361 in January 2010 to 19,528 last month, their lowest level for a January since 2008. Sales fell 26 percent from 19,528 in December.

Foreclosures accounted for 37 percent of resales last month, up from 35.1 percent in December but down from 42.1 percent a year ago.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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