Coronavirus Rebound? House Hunters Making Deals Faster than 2019

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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(Orange County Register)

Local house hunters continue to sign to buy at a pace above a year ago, as a summer buying surge follows a historically slow spring.

According to weekly data from Zillow, there were 3,717 new pending sales in the four-county Southern California region for the week ended Aug. 1. While that was one new escrow short of the previous week — only the second decline in the past 15 weeks — the buying pace was still 3.4% above the same time in 2019. That’s the fifth week of new deals topping year-ago buying.

Despite limited options for house hunters to choose from, Southern California homebuying continues to recover from a pandemic-weakened spring. The lure of cheap mortgages appears to be outweighing anxieties over economic challenges created by stay-at-home business limitations. Not only are there more new pending deals, but the time it takes for deals to go from new listings into escrow has been dramatically slashed.

In Los Angeles and Orange counties:

New escrows: Up 1.3% in a week, up 0.6% higher than last year. Time to escrow: 13 days, 8 days faster than last year. New listings: Down 2% in a week. Total inventory: Down 27.3% in a year. Median list price: $953,578, up 12.5% in a year.

In Riverside and San Bernardino counties:

New escrows: Down 1.9% in a week, up 7.9% in a year. Time to escrow: 11 days, 14 days faster than last year. New listings: Down 4.4% in a week. Total inventory: Down 44% in a year. Median list price: $458,580, up 7.9% in a year.

Remember, pending sales — which require various approvals, including that of a lender if a mortgage is involved — are a hint of which direction closed sales will go. Spring was the slowest-selling second quarter in a database from DQ News that dates to 1988.

Category: Economic News