Spike in SoCal home sales is good news for sellers, bad news for buyers

U.S. home prices jumped 12.2 percent in May compared with a year ago, the biggest yearly gain since March 2006. The increase shows the housing recovery is strengthening. (Photo: A home for sale in Central Los Angeles.) Christopher Okula/KPCC

Home sales spiked in Southern California for the third consecutive year, according to a new report.

The California Association of Realtors said San Bernardino County saw the largest increase in the region — six percent — followed by Orange and Los Angeles counties.

The increase is good news for people looking to sell their home, said Jordan Levine, a senior economist with the Association. However, people looking to buy homes will likely have a tougher time.

“As a buyer, it means that there's going to be fewer listings to choose from and potentially more competition for those units,” Levine said. “You're gonna have other buyers who are also interested because there are so few homes available for sale at the moment."

Year-to-Year Change in Pending Sales by County/Region

County/Region/State July 2017 July 2016 Yearly % Change
Kern 71.3 73.2 -2.6%
Los Angeles 86.6 83.3 4.0%
Orange 79.4 75.9 4.6%
Riverside 53.9 56.2 -4.2%
San Diego 133.2 141.4 -5.8%
San Bernardino 76.1 71.8 6.0%
Monterey 62.6 72.6 -13.7%
Sacramento 66.6 81.0 -17.8%
San Francisco 75.9 85.3 -11.0%
San Mateo 84.2 107.1 -21.4%
Santa Clara 84.8 94.1 -9.8%
Santa Cruz 112.6 111.7 0.7%
SF Bay Area 126.8 143.3 -11.5%
So. CA 113.1 111.5 1.4%
Central Valley 102.6 102.9 -0.3%
California (SA)* 119.4 122.5 -2.6%

*Seasonally adjusted

Data provided by the California Association of Realtors

Levine said growth in the Inland Empire can be attributed to affordability, especially when compared with L.A. and Orange County. However, Levine said it is also a short-term success.

“It's time for us to get serious about the root causes of this affordability issue," Levine said.

Levine said one of the problems is so-called under-building, wherein there aren’t enough houses being built to keep up with demand.

"It's questionable how long you can remain that kind of affordable commuter area if we don't get our act together and start building more units,” Levine said. “Because that's how you get into a situation where affordability starts to deteriorate pretty quickly."

Overall, Southern California saw a 1.4 percent increase in home sales in July, while the Bay Area saw a decrease of 11.5 percent.