As high prices continued to be one of the bigger headwinds holding home sales down, data from market research firm CoreLogic DataQuick revealed last week, that sales in Southern California were down 9 percent for the whole of 2014. However, the company’s report also noted that home sales did finish strong last year, and that home price gains settled down in the year that was.
The report shows that sales of new and previously owned houses and condominiums were up 4 percent year-over-year in December 2014, which was only the second time such figures improved over the previous year. “One month doesn’t make a trend, but December’s uptick in home sales might indicate renewed interest in housing thanks to lower mortgage rates and job growth in recent months,” said CoreLogic DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage.
He also cautioned that additional home supply would be needed if consumer froth continues to build up. One of the big questions hanging over the housing market is whether higher demand and home values will lead to a lot more people listing their homes for sale, as well as more new-home construction, which remains well below average,” he added.
Talking about home prices, December’s median home price in Southern California increased by 5.1 percent over the previous year, hitting $415,000 last month. This was also slightly higher than November’s median price of $395,000. For the past 33 months, median home sales prices have been appreciating year-over-year, but the good thing was that December’s increase was the smallest on record since home sale prices ticked up by just 3.6 percent from the previous year in April 2012.
Still, median sale prices were up 10.8 percent for the entire year, moving to $410,000 for all of 2014. According to CoreLogic DataQuick, this was mainly due to much larger home price increases in the early goings of the past year, but prices in many areas had seemingly plateaued in the last five months of 2014.
Among individual Southern California counties, sales improved 3.5 percent to 6,459 homes and the median price increased by 7 percent to $460,000 in Los Angeles County in December. For the entirety of 2014, sales were down 9.2 percent to 74,104 and median pricing was up by 10.4 percent to $455,000. In San Bernardino County, December’s statistics show that sales were up 8.3 percent to 2,333 properties and median pricing up 9.9 percent to $255,000. For 2014, sales were down by 7.2 percent to 26,289 and median pricing up by 17.1 percent to $240,000; all figures mentioned above pertain to year-over-year data.
In all, 2014 was considered a disappointing year for certain housing metrics, not only in Southern California, but also in the broader national market. “We knew by the time we got to the middle of the year it was going to be a disappointing year with respect to sales, with respect to prices and with respect to new home construction, and all of that played out both locally and nationally,” postulated Kyser Center for Economic Research chief economist Robert Kleinheinz.