La Jolla, CA---The core trends of Southern California's 2008 housing market were on prominent display in December: Low-cost inland foreclosures sold briskly, builders had their worst month in decades, expensive markets remained in wait-and-see mode and lenders continued to hold back on making 'jumbo' home loans, a real estate information service reported.
A total of 19,926 new and resale homes sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 19.2 percent from 16,720 for November, and up 50.5 percent from 13,240 for December 2007, according to MDA DataQuick.
While sales from September 2007 through last summer were at the lowest in at least two-decades, they've been up off the bottom ever since. Last month was the fifth-slowest December in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988. December a year ago was the all-time slowest, followed by 1995, 1990 and 1991. An average December had 25,277 sales, and the strongest was in 2003 when 36,865 Southland homes sold.
The number of resale houses sold in Riverside County almost tripled on a year-over-year basis, from 1,238 in December 2007 to 3,617 last month. Just under 70 percent of Riverside County resales were foreclosure homes. The trend is similar in San Bernardino County. Home sales in Southland metro and coastal prestige markets are down from a year ago.
Regionwide, foreclosure resales accounted for 55.7 percent of December's resales activity, up from 54.7 percent in November, and up from 24.3 percent in December 2007.
A total of 1,813 newly-built homes were sold in December, easily the lowest number for that month in DataQuick's statistics. The December average since 1988 is 4,926. In December 2005 a total of 8,723 new homes were sold.