The slowdown in San Diego County’s housing market continued in January, as sales dropped to their lowest levels in three years.
Prices also dipped last month, with the median falling $15,000 from December to $405,000, real estate tracker DataQuick reported Wednesday. Despite the drop, the January median is still up 15.7 percent from January 2012’s median $350,000.
“Two of the bigger questions hanging over the housing market right now are, ‘How much pent-up demand is left out there?’ and, ‘Will inventory skyrocket this year as more owners take advantage of the price run-up?’” DataQuick president John Walsh said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we’ll probably have to wait until spring for the answers. When it comes to statistical trends, January and February are atypical months that haven’t proven to be predictive over the years.”
Last month, there were 2,338 transactions in the county, down from 2,717 in January 2013, and the lowest amount since 2,248 properties changed hands in January 2011. The first month of each year is generally unremarkable when it comes to the housing market because it reflects deals struck during the holiday season, those in the industry say.
“January is typically a slower month,” said Denny Oh, a Realtor with Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, who specializes in downtown properties. “I think there’s a number of factors with the holidays, the new year, traveling and then starting to look at taxes, and on top of that, you’ve got the uncertainties to where rates are going.”
January’s 15.7 percent year-over-year appreciation is a slight uptick from the 14.8 percent gains seen from December 2013 to December 2012. But Mark Goldman, a loan officer and real estate lecturer at San Diego State University, said the market is generally slowing down to a 3 percent to 4 percent annual appreciation. In June 2013, prices reached a peak 24.1 percent in year-over-year gains.
Walsh said seasonality aside, low supply, a lack of mortgage availability, rising interest rates and home prices are contributing to the slowdown.
In early January, the average 30-year-fixed rate rose to 4.53 percent, more than a percentage point above the 3.34 percent available in January 2012, Freddie Mac reports.
The San Diego region also continues to see low supply. In January, there were 5,844 active listings, a 1,702 gain on January 2013, but still down from the 11,915 seen in January 2011, the San Diego Association of Realtors reports.
The median price for a new home fell to $622,000 in January, when 120 were sold. It reached a record $699,000 in December as large projects across the county closed by the year end. In December, there were 3,099 total transactions in San Diego County, including 284 new homes.
The lack of home sales in January wasn’t limited to San Diego, but spread across Southern California, with slowing in six counties, DataQuick says. Los Angeles home values are seeing 20.6 percent year-over-year gains to $410,000, while those in Orange County rose 19.6 percent to a median $550,000 in January.
Jonathan Horn / UT San Diego / February 12, 2014
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