Southern California home sales slip in May

Southern California home sales slip in May as thin inventories push prices higher

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Southern California home sales slid in May as demand outstripped supplies and sent prices higher, a research firm said Wednesday.

The median sales price for new and existing houses and condominiums was $410,000, up 1.5 percent from $404,000 in April and up 11.4 percent from $368,000 in May 2013, DataQuick said. It was the 26th straight month of annual price increases but the lowest percentage gain since August 2012.

Three of the six counties surveyed posted single-digit percentage price increases from last year, another sign that the market may be cooling. The annual price gain was 9.8 percent to $450,000 in Los Angeles, 8.7 percent to $462,000 in Ventura and 8.2 percent to $440,000 in San Diego.

There were 19,556 homes sold in the region, down 2.3 percent from 20,008 in April and down 15.1 percent from 23,034 in May 2013, San Diego-based DataQuick said. It was the eighth straight month that sales fell from a year earlier.

"We expected rising prices to unlock more inventory this spring, and that's happened. But the supply of homes for sale still falls short of demand in many markets," DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage said.

There was a 3.8-month supply of unsold homes in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in April, up from a 2.8-month supply a year earlier, according to the latest figures from the California Association of Realtors. A normal supply is considered five to seven months.

Areas hit hardest by the market meltdown several years ago posted the biggest price gains. The median sales price in San Bernardino, the least expensive county, rose 20.7 percent from last year to $245,000, and the median in Riverside, the second-least expensive, climbed 17.1 percent to $295,000.

The median sales price in Orange, the region's most expensive county, rose 10.2 percent to $595,000.

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