Southern California slowed for the sixth month in a row in May, falling 11.7 percent compared to May 2005. It was the region’s lowest sales total for the month since May 1999, according to DataQuick Information Systems, a real estate information service.
Also, home-price appreciation in May fell to the slowest pace in the past six years.
About 27,286 new and resale homes were sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in May, which was up 10.3 percent from April but down from May 2005, according to DataQuick Information Systems.
Sales dropped 31.6 percent in Orange County, 24.3 percent in Ventura County, 18 percent in San Diego County, 8.6 percent in Riverside County, and 4.7 percent in Los Angeles County, while rising 2.6 percent in San Bernardino County from May 2005 to May 2006.
Meanwhile, median prices increased 17.2 percent in San Bernardino County, 10.9 percent in Los Angeles County, 9.4 percent in Riverside County, 7.6 percent in Orange County, 3 percent in Ventura County and 0.4 percent in San Diego County during that period.
While last month was the slowest May since 1999 when 25,404 homes were sold, sales were still above the “average” May of 24,857 (going back to 1988). The strongest May was in 2002 when 32,391 homes were sold — the slowest was in 1993 when 15,001 were sold, DataQuick reported.
“The slowdown in sales appears to be most noticeable in the move-up category, which was expected. Prices are flattening out in that market. Entry-level and mid-market homes are not seeing as much of a sales slowdown, and prices are still going up, although at a slower pace,” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president, in a statement.
The median price paid for a home in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties was $485,000 last month. That was the same as April, and up 6.4 percent from $456,000 for May last year.
The 6.4 percent year-over-year increase was the lowest since July 2000 when the $205,000 median was up 6.2 percent from $193,000 a year earlier. The median peaked in March at $486,000, and current trends indicate it may peak again this summer, according to DataQuick.
The typical monthly mortgage payment that Southland buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,376 last month, up from $2,354 for the previous month, and up from $2,028 for May a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, current payments are about 6.2 percent above typical payments in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle.
Foreclosure activity is edging up from its bottom, but is still low, according to the report, while down payment sizes, flipping rates and non-owner occupied buying activity appear stable.