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REAL ESTATE: Inland median home prices surge in February

REAL ESTATE: Inland median home prices surge in February

Price trumped all in the real estate market across Southern California in February, a recurring dynamic that had a hand in keeping a clamp on sales, according to a new real estate report.

The CoreLogic DataQuick report Tuesday says the median price of 2,349 homes sold in Riverside County was $ 305,000, up 7 percent from $ 285,000 recorded in February 2014.

The median sale price of 1,631 homes in San Bernardino County sold in February was $ 250,000, an 11 percent gain from $ 225,000 one year earlier, the report showed.

While the price gains bring relief to Inland homeowners who were once underwater on their mortgage or home equity, the DataQuick report described February as the worst month for sales in all of Southern California in seven years.

“This feels a lot like early 2014,” DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage said in a telephone interview.

February has traditionally been characterized by year-over-year gains across the Southern California market. This year, sales were 21.6 percent below the February average of 17,420.

Home sales in Southern California have fallen on a year-over-year basis over 15 of the past 17 months, Le-Page said. Last year, home sales were slow as would-be homeowners struggled with credit hurdles, reduced affordability and inventory constraints, Le-Page said. This year the scene is no different.

Across Southern California, 13,650 homes were sold in February, a 2.8 percent drop from the year earlier for the six-county region. Home sales in Riverside County were down 4.0 percent and in San Bernardino County were off by 13.0 percent.

“A lot of people are hoping for more inventory,” LePage said. “It’ll be seen whether we get it.”

A few years back, distressed home sales were driving sales activity. “These days, it’s more about traditional drivers like job growth, rising rents and household formation,” LePage said.

The median price paid for all new and existing houses and condos in the six-county Southern California region in February 2015 was $ 415,000, up 8.4 percent from $ 383,000 in February 2014.

Orange County’s February median, $ 590,750, came closest to reaching its peak, which was $ 645,000, reached in 2007. It was a 8.4 percent shy of the mark.

The $ 305,000 median price homebuyers paid for a new or existing home in Riverside County in February is 29.4 percent off its December 2006 peak of $ 432,000, LePage said. The San Bernardino County median home price of $ 250,000 in February was also well below the November 2006 peak of $ 380,000.

Contact the writer: 951-368-9423 or dgruszecki@pe.com

Press Enterprise : Real Estate