The median price of a home in Riverside County increased by 22.5 percent while the number of homes sold in the county dropped by 6 percent in March, compared to the same month a year ago, a real estate information service reported today.
According to DataQuick, 3,532 homes were sold in Riverside County last month, compared to 3,756 in March 2012, while the median price was $245,000, up from $200,000 during the same time period last year.
A total of 20,581 new and resale houses and condos changed hands in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month, according to DataQuick. Sales usually jump between February and March, and last month's figure was up 29.1 percent from the month before and represented a 3.1 percent increase from March of last year.
The median price for a Southern California home was $345,500 in March, up 8 percent from $320,000 reported in February and up 23.4 percent from $280,000 in March 2012. According to DataQuick, last month's median price was the highest since July 2008.
"It's remarkable how much the housing scene has changed in a year," DataQuick President John Walsh said. "At this point in 2012 there were folks sitting on the market's sidelines waiting to be sure the recovery was real."
A gradual shift occurred as the economy picked up and mortgage rates fell to historic lows, which coincided with increased demand, especially in middle and higher-priced neighborhoods where activity had been sluggish for several years, Walsh said.
"Price measures continue to rise for two simple reasons," Walsh said. "First, demand for homes has risen at a time when the available supply is unusually low. Prices have had nowhere to go but up in many areas. Second, the gains are especially high right now because of the change in market mix: Sales of lower-cost homes have fallen at the same time activity in the higher price ranges has risen."