Home sales in Southern California jumped in December from November helped by demand from investors but slipped from their year-earlier level as many other buyers remained on the sidelines, a DataQuick report said on Tuesday.
A total of 19,247 new and resale houses and condominiums sold in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties in December, up 14.0 percent from November and down 1.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the real estate information service's report.
Home sales typically rise between November and December as some investors seek to close purchases for tax reasons.
Southern California's median home price last month was $270,000, down 1.8 percent in November and down 6.9 percent a year earlier, the report said, noting that investor demand for homes selling for less than $300,000 held the region's median home price down.
Last month's $270,000 median matched January and October for the lowest level of 2011. The regional median has declined year-over-year for the past 10 months - since last March, the report said.
The report added that December's median was 9.3 percent higher than the median's low point in the current real estate cycle - $247,000 in April 2009 - but it was 46.5 percent lower than the peak $505,000 median in mid 2007. The peak-to-trough drop was due to a decline in home values and a shift in sales toward lower-cost homes, especially inland foreclosures.
Foreclosure resales - properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months - accounted for 32.5 percent of resale homes sold in Southern California in December, compared with 31.6 percent in November and 35.1 percent a year earlier, the report said.
The report added that absentee buyers, which include investors and buyers of vacation properties, purchased a record 26.4 percent of homes sold last month in Southern California, while home buyers paying all cash purchased 29.0 percent of homes in the region.
DataQuick's report said credit conditions remained difficult last month, adding that December sales of newly built homes in Southern California fell 12.0 percent from a year earlier to a record low for the month.