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Southern California Home Sales Rise in November

LA JOLLA, Calif. ( DQNews) --The number of homes sold in Southern California rose modestly last month from both October and a year earlier as investors and first-time buyers targeted homes priced below $400,000. Sales above $500,000 fell nearly 16 %from a year earlier amid a troubled market for larger home loans, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 16,884 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in November. That was up 0.3 %from 16,829 in October and up 4.2 %from 16,208 in November 2010, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

While November sales of existing (not new) houses and condos combined rose 5.8% from a year earlier, sales of newly built homes fell 15.2% to the lowest level on record for a November.

"'Tis still the season to go bargain hunting -- or at least that's what the November home sales data suggest. The portion of homes sold to investors continued to hover near an all-time high. Lower prices and amazingly low mortgage rates tempted those with the confidence to buy and the ability to qualify for a loan, or to pay cash," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

"But these sales levels remain subpar, with new-home sales stuck at record lows. Part of it is the economy and would-be buyers' uncertainty -- about jobs, home prices and a potential surge in foreclosed properties hitting the market. Part of it is the folks who can't move up because they're upside down with their mortgages. And many who want to buy more expensive homes struggle with the financing."

When viewed by price segment, sales trends varied considerably. The number of homes that sold for less than $400,000 last month rose 6.1% from a year earlier, while transactions above $500,000 fell 15.7%. Above $800,000, sales fell 17.6% year-over-year. November sales fell 22.8% from a year earlier in the $600,000-$750,000 range, which in coastal counties was impacted by the recent lowering of conforming loan limits.

Last month the median price paid for all new and resale Southland houses and condos sold was $275,000, up 1.9 %from $270,000 in October but down 4.2% from $287,000 in November 2010.

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