Southern California home sales increase in March 2012, but at a lower price than 2011

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In six Southern California counties, more homes sold last month than during the same time a year ago, but at a slightly lower selling price than before.

Orange County showed the biggest year-over-year March increase in sales.

Real estate tracking firm DataQuick says Southland home sales jumped between February and March of this year. The company’s Andrew LePage said home sales typically pick up in March.

He said the number of homes sold last month increased slightly from the same month a year ago in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

LePage said the median sales price was $280,000.

“The increased affordability matters a lot," said LePage, "and I think it’s the main reason that sales are up 3 percent almost in the Southland in March from a year ago."

The highest median sales price last month was in Orange County. The $400,000 median in Orange County represents a drop of about $30,000 from a year ago in March.

LePage said that may account for the increase in homes realtors sold in the county last month.

He said it was Orange County’s best March for home sales in the last five years, but LePage adds that the relatively small sales gain last month is nothing to get excited about.

He said the housing recovery is “slow-paced” and despite low mortgage rates and lower prices, tight credit and an uncertain economy still keep many potential buyers out of the market.

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