The Southern California real estate market rounded out the summer buying season with record prices and a near-record sales pace, a real estate information service reported.

The median price paid for a Southern California home was $476,000 last month, the seventh record of the last seven months, according to DataQuick Information Systems. That was up 1.5 percent from $469,000 in July, and up 17 percent from $407,000 for August 2004.

The median for resale houses was $501,000, passing the $500,000 mark for the first time. The median for resale condos was $403,000, passing the $400,000 mark for the first time.

A total of 34,292 new and resale homes were sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month, up 10.4 percent from 31,069 in July, and up 10.2 percent from 31,131 for August last year, DataQuick reported.

Last month’s sales count made it the third-strongest August in DataQuick’s records, which go back to 1988. Sales in August 2003 were 34,437 and in August 1988 they totaled 35,339.

“Interest rates haven’t really gone anywhere. Demand still appears to be strong. There are more homes on the market now than last spring,” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president. “As an investment, home ownership still looks pretty good compared to the alternatives. So while we’re certainly closer to the end of the cycle, the market is still balanced and stable.”

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Southland buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,138 last month, up from $2,052 for the previous month, and up from $1,832 for August a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, current payments are about 3 percent below their peak in the spring of 1989.

Indicators of market distress are still largely absent. Foreclosure activity has bottomed out, but is still low. Down payment sizes are stable, as are flipping rates and non-owner occupied buying activity, DataQuick reported.

DataQuick 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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