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market update – at a glance

Home Prices

Median home prices flattened in July, increasing only 0.4% to $222,900. This is up 4.9% from last year, continuing the summer’s pattern of sustainable increases in home prices.

Home Sales

The pace of home sales rose 2.2% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.15 million homes. This is down 4.5% from the same month of the previous year; however, the portion of sales that were distressed is down to 9% from 15% last year. This means that conventional sales are likely higher than in July of last year, and this is also the first time the portion of distressed sales have been below 10% since NAR began tracking them in 2008.

Inventory – Month’s Supply

The number of homes available for sale was up 5.8% from last year, with 2.37 million homes available for sale in July. That once again translated to 5.5 months of supply, keeping the market slightly in favor of sellers. With more homes on the market, buyers should have more options, though in many markets timeliness will still be a factor when putting in an offer on a home.

Mortgage news

The typical monthly mortgage payment Southland buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,602, down from a revised $1,616 the month before and up from $1,537 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month’s typical payment was 34.4 percent below the typical payment in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 46.3 percent below the current cycle’s peak in July 2007.

Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, accounted for 32.3 percent of last month’s Southland purchase lending – the highest jumbo level for any month since the credit crunch struck in August 2007. Last month’s figure was up a hair from 32.2 percent in June and up from 27.9 percent a year earlier. Prior to August 2007 jumbos accounted for around 40 percent of the home loan market. The jumbo level dropped to as low as 9.3 percent in January 2009.

In July, 13.6 percent of Southland home purchase loans were adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), down slightly from 13.9 percent in June and up from 10.9 percent a year ago. ARM use dropped to as low as 1.9 percent of all purchase loans in May 2009. Since 2000, a monthly average of about 31 percent of Southland purchase loans have been ARMs.

All lenders combined provided a total of $6.44 billion in mortgage money to Southern California home buyers in July, up from a revised $6.35 billion in June and down from $6.54 billion in July last year.

The most active lenders to Southern California home buyers last month were Wells Fargo with 6.9 percent of the total home purchase loan market, Bank of America with 2.8 percent and New American Funding with 2.5 percent.

Government-insured FHA loans, a popular low-down-payment choice among first-time buyers, accounted for 18.8 percent of all purchase mortgages last month. That was the same as the month before and down from 19.0 percent a year earlier. In recent months the FHA share has been the lowest since early 2008, mainly because of tighter FHA qualifying standards and the difficulties first-time buyers have competing with investors and cash buyers.

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Kathleen Finnegan

23925 Park Sorrento
Calabasas, Ca 91302

Office 818-876-3111
Cell 818-601-0056