Sales rise, prices drop in Southern California

Foreclosure resales are a ‘dominant factor’ in Southern California market
Southern California sales hit the highest level in over a year, real estate research company DataQuick reported today, with sales up 13.8 percent year-over-year in July. The July sales count — 20,329 new and resale homes and condos sold in the six-county Southern California area — was the highest since March 2007, when 21,856 homes were sold. But the count was still 23 percent below average July sales since 1988, the first year of DataQuick statistics for the region. The median price for the region dropped 31.1 percent year-over-year in July, falling from $505,000 to $348,000.

"Foreclosure resales continue to be a dominant factor in today’s Southern California market," and accounted for 43.6 percent of all resales in July, up from 7.9 percent for the same month last year, DataQuick reported.

Builders’ monthly confidence index unchanged in August
While components of a monthly index that measures builder confidence improved slightly in August, the overall index held at a low level. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which is based on a survey of builders about current and future market conditions and the traffic of prospective buyers, held at a rating of 16 in August — a score below 50 represents a market in which more builders view market conditions as "poor," than those who view them as "fair" or "good."

An index component that measures current sales rose one point to 16, the component gauging sales expectations for the next six months rose from 23 to 25, and the component that gauges traffic of prospective buyers held at 12. Regionally, the index for the West declined three points to 11, the South held at 20, the Midwest rose four points to 14 and the Northeast rose two points to 16.

REO property manager on hiring spree
Business is booming for Mortgage Contracting Services, a company that inspects and maintains real-estate-owned properties around the nation through a network of subcontractors.

Tampa, Fla.-based MCS says it’s hired 92 new employees in 2008, doubled its office space, and moved its corporate headquarters to the Bank of America tower. MCS said it’s grown its client base and broadened services to include additional REO activity and asset disposition services.

MCS provides property inspections, property preservation, REO maintenance, hazard claims administration and default management, with offices in Tampa, Cincinnati, Dallas, Des Moines, Iowa and Austin, Texas.

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