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DataQuick: SoCal housing market 'crippled' found    at

The real estate market in Southern California is "crippled by uncertainty and credit constraints," DataQuick said today in a report showing continued declines in sales and prices across the region.

Sales in February fell to the lowest level ever measured by DataQuick,  and DataQuick said roughly one out of every three houses that did sell had been foreclosed on earlier this year.


In Riverside County, prices have fallen 20% over the past year and 48% of February sales were of foreclosed homes.

Bearish economist Christopher Thornberg, who once generated headlines by predicting a 20% decline in Southern California home prices, has now revised  his prediction: he says prices will fall 40%.

Across Southern California, DataQuick reported, median sales prices fell from $415,000 in January to $408,000 in February, a decline of 17.6% from year-ago prices, and 19% from the pricing peak of $505,000, which was reached last spring and summer. Overall sales fell 39%.

In Los Angeles, median sales prices actually rose slightly, from $458,000 in January to $460,000 in February -- the only increase in the six-county region of Southern California. The February L.A. numbers represent a 12.9% decline over the past year, and a decline of 16.4% from the peak of $550,000, reached in August. Overall sales fell 45%.

DQ analysis: "Sales remained extraordinarily low, and a significant portion of what did sell was in areas beset by foreclosure activity. That's where sellers are the most motivated and price cuts are largest. Mainly it's in the inland markets, often in newer suburbs, where prices got pumped up artificially with the sort of crazy loans that no longer exist," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

"More difficult to glean from today's statistics is the exact status of more established neighborhoods, often near the coast or job centers, where foreclosures aren't a big problem but where sales are scant. We're anxious to see whether the government's recently announced higher conforming loan limits
will have much impact on sales in these areas this spring and summer."

Month    L.A. median sales price       y/y change       12-month L.A. sales total

Jan. 07   $520,000                        6.0%                 108,755
Feb 07    $528,000                        8.0%                 107,966
Mar 07    $540,000                        6.0%                 105,514
Apr 07    $540,000                        6.0%                 103,450
May 07   $550,000                        7.0%                  100,160
Jun 07    $545,000                        5.0%                   96,513
Jul 07    $547,500                        5.0%                    94,478
Aug 07   $550,000                        6.0%                    90,985
Sept 07 $525,000                         1.2%                    86,610
Oct 07  $500,000                         -3.8%                   82,527
Nov 07  $499,000                         -3.5%                  78,712
Dec 07 $470,000                        -10.5%                  74,663
Jan 08 $458,000                         -11.9%                 71,256
Feb 08 $460,000                       -12.9%              68,424




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