Home prices slightly higher, foreclosures down
Just 38 proceedings started in Porterville
The median price paid for a home in Porterville in January was 7.4 percent higher than a year ago while foreclosures continue to significantly decline in the area.
DataQuick, which monitors real estate activity, noted that the median price paid for a Porterville home in January was $116,000, up from $108,000 a year ago, but down from the $120,000 median price paid in December.
RealtyTrac, which monitors foreclosure activity, reported just 38 foreclosure proceedings begun in Porterville in January, down from 61 in December. Foreclosures have been dropping since about August of last year and the 195 proceedings begun in January in Tulare County was the lowest in several years. During the housing bust, more than 600 foreclosure proceedings were recorded every month just in Tulare County. A year ago, January of 2012, there were 105 foreclosures begun in Porterville and 601 countywide.
Visalia saw the most foreclosures in January at 71, followed by Porterville, Tulare with 25, Dinuba 15, Exeter 13 and Lindsay just 10.
Home prices in the area are fairly consistent, with Visalia up 19 percent to $149,000 and Lindsay down 26 percent to $86,000 over a year ago. Lindsay’s median price was more in line with the $85,000 reported in December.
An estimated 28,871 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month. That was down 27.4 percent from 39,760 in December, and up 2.7 percent from 28,111 sales in January 2012, according to DataQuick.
A sales decline from December to January is normal for the season. January sales in California have varied from a low of 19,145 in 2008 to a high of 47,138 in 2004. Last month’s sales were 8.7 percent below the average of 31,607 sales for all months of January since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin.
The median price paid for a home in California last month was $290,000, down 3 percent from $299,000 in December and up 22.9 percent from $236,000 in January 2012. January marked the 11th consecutive month in which the state’s median sale price rose year-over-year. Last month’s gain was the highest since January 2005, when the median at that time, $399,500, also rose 22.9 percent year-over-year. In March/April/May 2007 the median peaked at $484,000, then it declined to a low of $221,000 in April 2009.
Of the existing homes sold in January, 18.7 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was up from a revised 15.8 percent in December and down from 34.3 percent a year earlier. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.8 percent in February 2009.
Short sales — transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property — made up an estimated 26.1 percent of the homes that resold statewide last month. That was down from an estimated 26.4 percent the month before and 27 percent a year earlier.
The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,030. That was down from $1,054 in December and up from $906 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, the year-ago payment was the lowest in DataQuick’s records.
Last month’s typical payment was 54.7 percent below the 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle, and 63.2 percent below the 2006 peak of the current cycle.
However, stable interest rates, while still very low, and rising home prices has made home buying less affordable for residents, according to the California Association of Realtors. It found the percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced home decreased to 48 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, down from 49 percent in the third quarter.
In Tulare County, where home prices are still very affordable, the report found 71 percent can afford a median-priced home of $141,810.