Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ventura County January 2009 Sales

Dataquick released figures for Ventura County today. Sales volume was 578 up 36.6% from last January which was the worst January since Dataquick has been following sales. The median price has fallen 29.90% from $477,750 for January 2008 to $335,000 last month. This is a 46.8% decrease from the peak. Since lower quality foreclosures have been driving sales the mix of homes selling overstates the median decline. Because I am now seeing the homes higher up the food chain starting to break downwards even more in price I expect the mix shift to normalize a bit and so you will see a decline in the rate of change in median price drop. As this plays out through the year people might see the moderation of strength in the market and that would be a mistake. Prices are still falling and falling dramatically. Sales are still very poor. The local economy is deteriorating further. And the number of closed sales that are distressed in some way are very high. I don't expect the distressed sales to maintain the 70% ratio through the beginning of the selling season, I think it will drop some as equity sellers give up. I see these all as positive signs that the market is working its way to normalization, even if that normalization is far off in the future.

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