San Diego – Home Sales off to Slow Start

San Diego County’s housing market is off to one of its slowest starts to peak buying season, which began in March.

Last month, 3,057 homes sold for a median $427,000, real estate tracker DataQuick reported Tuesday. That’s a boost in activity from February’s 2,541 sales at a median $410,000, but it was a nearly 20 percent drop from the sales in March 2013. Last month was also the slowest for a March since 2009, toward the end of the Great Recession. March is generally the month in which activity in the housing market picks up, as weather improves and some families plan to move during the summer.

DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage said there are a variety of reasons for this year’s slow start.

“The inventory of homes for sale remains thin in many markets. Investor purchases have fallen. The jump in home prices and mortgage rates over the past year has priced some people out of the market, while other would-be buyers struggle with credit hurdles,” LePage said in a statement, “Also, some potential move-up buyers are holding back while they weigh whether to abandon a phenomenally low interest rate on their current mortgage in order to buy a different home.”

Last month’s median $427,000 was still a 12.4 percent jump from March 2013’s $380,000 price tag, but the value gain continued an overall trend of slowing annual appreciation. In June, for instance, when the median was $416,500, home values were up 24.1 percent from a year earlier.

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