A total of 20,514 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the six-county Southland last month. That was up 5.2 percent from 19,506 in March and up 31.4 percent from 15,615 a year ago, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick, a real estate information service.
Last month’s sales were the highest for that month since April 2006, when 27,114 homes sold, but were 18.2 percent below the average April sales total since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin.
Foreclosure resales – homes sold in April that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 53.6 percent of all Southland resales last month. It was the seventh consecutive month in which post-foreclosure properties made up more than half of all resales.
The deep discounts associated with foreclosures have created stiff competition for builders, who last month sold the lowest number of newly constructed homes for an April since at least 1988.
At the same time, the number of single-family houses that resold last month was at record or near-record-high levels for an April in many of the more affordable, foreclosure-heavy inland markets. They included Palmdale, Lancaster, Moreno Valley, Perris, Indio, San Jacinto, Lake Elsinore and Victorville.
The sales picture was dramatically different in many older, high-end communities closer to the coast, where foreclosures and deep discounts are less common. Sales of existing houses remained at or near record lows for an April in markets such as Beverly Hills, Malibu, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Manhattan Beach and Pacific Palisades.
Among the reasons high-end sales remain so sluggish: The “jumbo” mortgages needed to buy such homes have been more expensive and much harder to obtain since August 2007, when the credit crunch hit. Before then, nearly 40 percent of Southland sales were financed with jumbo loans, then defined as over $417,000. Last month it was 10.9 percent.
In the more affordable inland areas, first-time buyers have relied heavily on government-insured FHA financing. Such loans were used to finance a near-record 39.1 percent of all Southland home purchases last month, up from 18.4 percent a year ago. In the Inland Empire, more than half of all April home purchases were financed with FHA loans.