Southern California Median Home Price up 15% in September

Southern California home sales and prices surged higher in September, the latest evidence of a hot housing market during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The six-county region’s median price rose 15.3% from a year earlier to a record $612,750 last month, according to data released Wednesday by DQNews.

Sales soared 22.3%.

The market, both locally and nationally, has been on the rebound since slowing sharply this spring at the height of the coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

Though unemployment is high, the economic downturn has disproportionately affected lower-wage workers less likely to buy a home in the first place.

Real estate agents and analysts say many households with decent-paying jobs are eager to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates. And some want out of small apartments now that they work from home.

The number of homes for sale, however, is below last year’s level, and that’s helping push up prices.

September was the fourth straight month the median hit a new all-time high, and the 15.3% increase from a year earlier was the largest pop since 2014.

The annual increase in August was also the largest since 2014.

Analysts say the strong gains in recent months reflect a rise in actual values but also a change in what is selling.

Because the median is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less, it reflects a change in individual home values as well as the types of homes sold at any given moment.

With job losses hitting lower-income households harder, analysts say that’s caused a greater share of today’s home sales to be in the luxury segment, thus inflating the median.

Real estate firm CoreLogic releases an index that attempts to correct for such shifts in the types of homes selling.

The index is delayed compared with the median price data, but in August, the index showed home prices in Los Angeles County rose 5.3% from a year earlier. That compared with a 12.2% increase in the median for August.

When it came to September, here’s how sales and prices changed in individual Southern California counties:

In Los Angeles County, the median sales price rose 14.5% from a year earlier to $710,000, while sales increased 19.9%. In Orange County, the median sales price rose 8.6% to $785,000, while sales increased 29.8%.

In Riverside County, the median sales price rose 14% to $447,000, while sales increased 17%. In San Bernardino County, the median sales price rose 12.8% to $397,000, while sales increased 26.4%.

In San Diego County, the median sales price rose 14% to $650,000, while sales increased 27%. In Ventura County, the median sales price rose 12.9% to $665,000, while sales increased 32.1%.

Posted on 10/21/2020.