With sales increasing in December and median sale prices reaching their highest levels in more than 8 years, home sales in the Southern California housing market went out with a bang in 2015.
According to the data, the sales of new and existing homes and condominiums in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside counties increased by 33 percent when comparing December to November. Furthermore, when comparing December data from 2015 to December data from 2014, the number of sales increased by 9.8 percent to 20,890 homes sold. As such, the annual gain in December was the highest the area has experienced during any month since July of 2015, at which times sales saw a 17.3 percent year-over-year increase.
When specifically looking at Los Angeles County, home sales increased by 8.2 percent when comparing year-over-year December data to 7,196 units. In Orange County, sales increased by 13.8 percent, while Riverside County saw sales increase by 8.3 percent. In San Bernardino County, sales were up by 11.4 percent. It should be noted, however, that some of these sales were created when transactions that would have normally closed in November were delayed as the industry worked to adjust to the new federal mortgage rules that became effective in October.
Overall, the state of California saw home sales increase by 8.1 percent when compared to 2014. This rate is still 14 percent below the average annual sales for the region over the past 25 years. Overall, home sales of half a million dollars or more accounted for 41.6 percent of sales in December, which is a slight increase from the 40.3 percent of sales from November. It is a significant difference when compared to December 2014, at which time these homes accounted for 36.7 percent of sales. The number of homes sold below that dollar figure in December increased 0.6 percent when comparing year-over year data, while homes priced at $500,000 or more increased by 23.7 percent. The number of homes priced at $800,000 or more that sold in December increased by 22.6 percent when comparing year-over-year data, while homes at $1 million or more increased by 19.5 percent.
Just as sales were up in December, so was the price of a home in Southern California. In fact, the median price paid for a home in Southern California was up 1 percent from $438,500 in November to $443,000 in December. When comparing year-over-year data, the price increased by 6.7 percent from $415,000 in December 2014. Furthermore, the median price for a home in December 2015 was the highest it has been in any month since October 2007, at which time the median sales price was $445,000. This figure surpassed the previous high of $442,000 that was achieved in June.
In Los Angeles County, the median price of a home increased by 8.1 percent when comparing year-over-year data to $500,000. In Orange County, the median price increased by 8.2 percent to $630,000 while prices in Riverside County grew by 6.7 percent to $320,000. San Bernardino County saw the median price increase by 6.9 percent to $272,000.
While it is normal for housing prices to increase between November and December, this increase is usually around 14 percent. In 2015, the figure was more than double that amount with a 33 percent increase.
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(all data current as of 5/29/2017)
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