Southern California’s residential housing market down-shifted into holiday mode during September, with sales basically flat from a year ago and the median price dipping to its lowest level since May, a market tracker said Wednesday.
Last month sales of new and previously owned houses and condominiums dipped 0.8 percent from a year earlier to 20,927 properties, according to Irvine-based CoreLogic.
And sales were down 9.5 percent from August.
The median home price in the six-county area increased 6 percent from a year ago to $460,000 and lost $5,000 from August. But the median price is holding at its highest level in nine years, the company said.
Prices fell month-to-month in five of the region’s six counties.
“It’s not unusual for the median to decline modestly between August and September, in part because demand begins to soften heading into the fall, since many buyers with families buy before school starts,” said Andrew LePage, a research analyst with CoreLogic.
The market did have a soft summer.
“Despite job growth and a dip in already low mortgage rates, Southern California home sales this summer fell about 1 percent short of the same June-through-September period last year,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst with CoreLogic.
The CoreLogic report showed that:
•In Los Angeles County sales fell 4 percent from last year to 7,004 properties and they were down 9 percent from August. The median price increased 7 percent from a year ago to $526,000 and dipped 0.8 percent from August.
•In Orange County there were 3,192 sales, unchanged from a year earlier but down 11 percent from August. The median price increased 4 percent from the prior year to $640,000 and it fell $9,000 from August.
•Sales in Riverside County slipped 0.6 percent from a year earlier to 3,424 and they fell 10 percent from August. The median price increased 6 percent from the prior year to $334,500 and fell 1 percent from August.
•Sales in San Bernardino County increased 2 percent from a year ago to 2,602 and they fell 10 percent from August. The median price increased 11 percent from the prior year to $298,250 and it increased 6.5 percent from August.
San Bernardino was the only county to post a month-to-month price increase.
One ray of hope for buyers is that price increases are moderating.
The median price has increased year-over-year for 54 consecutive months, according to CoreLogic records. But the gains have been single-digit for the last 28 months after 22 consecutive months of double-digit annual increases.