Amid declining inventory, the median price of a home in San Luis Obispo County rose in September, and the total number of homes sold also continued to increase compared with the same month last year.
Home sales overall grew 3.2 percent year-over-year to 291, according to the San-Diego-based firm DataQuick, an independent real estate tracker. It marked the eighth consecutive month in which more homes were sold than for the same months of 2011.
Also in September, the median price for all homes grew 18.1 percent, rising to $385,000 from $326,000 in the same month of 2011. Home prices have grown year-over-year for five straight months, from May to September. Those same months of 2011 had seen prices fall year-over-year.
The statewide median price for new and existing houses and condominiums in California reached $287,000 last month, up 15.3 percent from $249,000 a year earlier. The median is the midpoint of home prices, where half of the residences sold for more and half for less. DataQuick recorded a peak median of $585,000 for SLO County in June 2006.
Monthly residential real estate figures are compared with the same month from the prior year because of the highly seasonal nature of home sales.
About 83 percent of the homes sold in SLO County in September 2012 were resale single-family homes. Those sales grew 3 percent year-over-year to 242. The median price grew 8.3 percent to $390,000 from $360,000 in September 2011.
Sales figures and prices for new homes and condos are subject to larger swings because their sales numbers are relatively small across the county.
This September, sales of new homes in SLO County fell 18.2 percent to nine homes, compared with 11 during the same month of 2011. The median price for new homes in September, at $518,750, was 80.7 percent higher than the year before. Condo sales rose 11.1 percent year over year to 40 units in September, and the median price grew 23.8 percent to $260,000.
Home foreclosure activity in California fell to a new five-year low in the third quarter as rising prices eased pressure on homeowners and lenders, DataQuick said. The numbers ease concern about a flood of distressed sales to slow or even reverse the housing markets recovery. On the flip side, the dearth of foreclosures has meant a smaller supply for buyers seeking to take advantage of low interest rates and an improving economy.
According to the California Association of Realtors, whose August numbers were the most recent available, local sales of distressed properties has been declining, from 45 percent of total sales in August 2011 to 30 percent of sales in August 2012.
Including both regular and distressed properties, there was a 4.5-month inventory of homes in SLO County in August 2012, according to the association. The figure represents how long it would take to sell all existing single-family homes in California at the current sales clip. Supply in a normal market is considered to be six to seven months. According to the associations figures, local inventory has followed a downward trend since January 2009.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.