SAN DIEGO (AP) — Southern California home prices matched a two-year high in June, as sales of foreclosed properties dried up and more buyers snapped up homes in pricier coastal regions, a research firm said Tuesday.
The median price of new and existing houses and condominiums in the six-county region reached $300,000 last month, up 5.3 percent from $285,000 during the same period last year, DataQuick said.
It marked the third straight month that prices increased from last year, matching the longest streak since late 2010.
The California Association of Realtors also released its June median sales price for existing single-family homes in the state, showing an 8.1 percent gain to $320,540 from $296,410.
That number doesn't include condominiums or new homes, and it relies on Realtors instead of county property records, but it suggests the recovery extended to the entire state last month.
"Just about everywhere in the state has hit bottom," said Jeffrey Michael, director of the University of the Pacific's Business Forecasting Center in Stockton. "Some areas have moved into recovery and others are sliding along the bottom. It looks like the coastal areas are moving into recovery."
DataQuick President John Walsh cautioned against reading too much into the median price, saying the increase reflects a shift in sales from foreclosed properties in economically battered regions to higher-priced neighborhoods along the coast. Foreclosed properties tend to sell at steep discounts.
"The June numbers look pretty good at first glance, but they're more mixed when you scratch beneath the surface," he said. "Yes, the median sales price rose again. But it's clear this has a lot to do with the changes in the types of homes selling, rather than across-the board price appreciation."
Distressed sales, which include foreclosures, accounted for 42.2 percent of existing home sales in Southern California last month, the lowest since February 2008, DataQuick said.
Homes that were in foreclosure during the previous year accounted for 24.5 percent of existing home sales, down from 32.9 percent during the year-ago period.
Short sales — when the sales price is below the amount owed on the property — made up 17.7 percent of existing home sales, down from 17.9 percent last year.
The number of homes sold in Southern California reached 22,075 in June, up 7.5 percent from 20,532 a year earlier. It was the sixth straight month of annual gains, the longest streak since late 2009 and early 2010.
Sales breakdowns by county showed how coastal areas were driving overall gains. Orange, the most expensive in Southern California, posted a 13.7 annual increase in the number of homes sold, with a median price of $453,000. San Bernardino, the least expensive in the region, showed a 1.3 percent annual decline in sales, with a median price of $158,000.