So. California Home Sales Mixed Signals in 95
by Real Estate Analyst John Karevoll
La Jolla,CA As last year came to an end, the Southern California real
estate market continued to send mixed signals, a real estate information
service reported. A total of 17,408 new and resale houses and condos
were sold in Los Angeles, Ventura, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino
and Riverside counties in December. That was up 8.9 percent from
15,983 the month before and down 2.8 percent from 17,901 for December
a year ago, according to DataQuick Information Systems.
An increase in sales from November to December is normal for the season.
Southland home sales were down 15.8 percent during the first half of 1995
and then picked up as mortgage interest rates went down. The year-over-year
decline in December was the first since July. The Southland sales count for
1995 as a whole was 188,111, down 8.7 percent from 206,038 in 1994. "With
mixed signals like the ones the market is sending now, we're obviously at
some sort of turning point. We have seen significant shifts in market mix
this past year. It'll be interesting down the line to see how much of the
shift is permanent and how much can be attributed to low interest rates,"
said Donald L. Cohn, DataQuick CEO.
Entry-level homes account for an ever-growing share of the market, and
high-end homes are now selling well at lower prices. Homes in the 'move-up'
category are selling poorly. Sales of newly-built homes surged last month
to the highest level in a year. A total of 2,854 new homes were sold in
December, up 36.5 percent from November's 2,091 and down 5.4 percent from
3,017 for December a year ago. Last month's new-home sales count was the
third highest for any month since mid-1991.
DataQuick monitors real estate purchasing and financing activity
nationwide, and provides information to consumers, lending institutions,
title companies and industry analysts.