It won't be wildfires, mudslides or earthquakes that will cost thousands of Southern Californians their homes. It clearly is the economic slide.
More figures out today show how low we can go doing the homeownership limbo dance. According to the real estate tracking firm MDA DataQuik, the median price for a home in Southern California is now $300,000. That is down from $455,000 just a year ago, a 33-percent freefall. That means, if you bought your home in 2003 or later, you've probably lost most, if not all of your equity.
And while that's enough to send a lot of homeowners into a funk as deep as our current recession, there is another number out there that is even more troubling.
The latest business news.
51-percent of all home sales, more than half the transactions in the six counties that make up Southern California, are now the result of foreclosure. As a point of comparison, last year at this time only 16-percent of home sales were tied to foreclosures.
This is particularly staggering when you think back to the height of this market, back in 2004-2006, when houses routinely were sold after just a few days on the market, frequently well above asking price. The new rich talked about how much money they made buying and selling homes, and it seemed the good times could never end.
They're over now, at least for the moment. For those looking to get into the California real estate market, these may be the halcyon days, when homes seem to be available at fire-sale prices.