The Southern California housing market enjoyed a strong March after being basically stagnant all winter. According to CoreLogic, home sales last month were up 11 percent from a year earlier and the median home price reached $425,000 a 2.4 percent increase from February.
In its analysis of the findings, the Los Angeles Times proclaimed “the Southern California housing market awakens from its winter slumber.” It noted how Southland home prices had been basically flat for more than year. In fact, March is just the third month in the last 18 months that home sales increased on a year-over-year basis.
Expectations were the March housing numbers would be strong and they didn’t disappoint. There had been plenty of anecdotal evidence that the Southland housing market had picked up steam since after the Super Bowl. It has been largely attributed to a strengthening jobs market and the fact home prices have remained relatively flat. Economists told the Times they expect this trend of increased year-over-year sales to continue at least through the end of the busy spring selling season.
However, they also warned that a continued low supply of available homes could put a real drag on the market. Affordability could become an increasingly serious issue. Moderate income folks may be priced out of the market, much like has happened in San Francisco, if more homes don’t become available.
To give you an idea of the lack of inventory, the Times pointed out Los Angeles County, Orange County and San Diego County each had less than a four month supply of available homes. That’s worrisome when you consider a six-month supply is the traditional benchmark of a healthy and balanced housing market.
For now though, the market is rocking. All six counties that make up Southern California saw big increases in home sales in March. L.A. County registered a 12.5 percent increase, while Orange County had an 8.9 percent jump.