Southern California’s heated pace of home sales and price increases cooled a few degrees in July as buyers mulled over a wider selection of homes for sale, according to real estate information service DataQuick.

A total of 32,988 homes were sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in July, down 5 percent from June’s near-record 34,371 and down 1.7 percent from 33,561 for July last year, DataQuick reported.

Orange and Ventura counties, the most expensive of the region, saw marked sales declines of 16.9 percent and 16.1 percent, respectively, from a year ago. San Bernardino County, the least expensive, posted a record 4,335 sales in July, up 9 percent from a year ago.

“These numbers show some expected market adjustments, but are no indication of any impending downturn. Last month was the second strongest July ever for sales, behind last year. Appreciation is still strong, just not as strong as earlier in the year,” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

The median price paid for a Southern California home was $402,000 last month, down 1 percent from $406,000 in June, and up 22.6 percent from $328,000 for July 2003. Year-over-year price increases peaked at 26.9 percent in May.

DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

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