March 1, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Southern California home prices, sales jump 13% in January

Southern California home prices and sales jumped double digits in January from a year earlier, as prospective buyers rushed to take advantage of rock-bottom mortgage rates.

The six-county region’s median price rose 13% from a year earlier to $599,500 last month, according to data released Monday by data firm DQNews. Sales increased 13.5%.

The data show the hot housing market is extending into the new year. January marked the fifth consecutive month in which sales increased by double digits. It was the sixth straight month that saw a double-digit increase in the median price — the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.

Real estate agents and other experts say several factors are behind the competitive market during the pandemic. One is the cost to borrow has plunged, with the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dropping below 3% for the first time ever.

Another reason: Many people who are spending more time at home realize they could use more space, and those who haven’t seen their incomes plunge are taking action. Meanwhile, government relief efforts for struggling borrowers have prevented foreclosures, a wave of which helped crater prices during the Great Recession.

Last month, prices and sales rose in all six Southern California counties tracked by DQNews.

  • In Los Angeles County, the median price rose 12.6% to $690,000, while sales climbed 14.3%.
  • In Orange County, the median price rose 6.7% to $799,000, while sales climbed 22%.
  • In Riverside County, the median price rose 17.1% to $455,364, while sales climbed 10.1%.
  • In San Bernardino County, the median price rose 11.8% to $402,500, while sales climbed 20.7%.
  • In San Diego County, the median price rose 9.4% to $640,000, while sales climbed 1.8%.
  • In Ventura County, the median price rose 11.2% to $655,000, while sales climbed 16%.

Some experts predict home prices will rise less this year than last year, because values can only get so high.

Few, if any, market watchers are predicting prices to come down soon, citing low mortgage rates and expectations of an improving economy. Large numbers of millennials are also entering prime home-buying years, a demographic wave that is poised to add new demand.