San Diego Real Estate Market Finding Balance

The San Diego housing market continues to come into balance, with price hikes that hit double digits a year ago leveling off this summer.

The median price of $445,000 for a home sold in San Diego County in July was about 7 percent higher than the median for July a year ago, but was actually down from the median of $450,000 in June, according to figures reported by CoreLogic DataQuick.

The trend of a market that favors neither borrower nor seller is reflected in reports from the San Diego Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.

In San Diego County, while price appreciation has moderated and interest rates remain low, the number of homes for sale remains virtually unchanged and tight lending restrictions are still holding back the market. The realtors' association reported in July that while new listings increased 3.7 percent to 4,944, pending sales were down 3.6 percent to 3,183, and inventory remained about the same.

A separate quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors said that home-price growth continued to moderate in many metropolitan areas across the country and national year-over-year price appreciation is now at its slowest pace since 2012. “National median home prices began their most recent rise during the first quarter of 2012 but had climbed to unsustainable levels given the current pace of inflation and wage growth,” said Lawrence Yun, the association's chief economist. “At this slower but healthier rate, homeowners can continue steadily building equity. Meanwhile, for buyers, increased supply with moderate price gains is giving them better opportunities to choose."

While income levels are generally higher in California and in the San Diego area, home prices in California's major metropolitan areas rank as some of the highest in the nation.
San Diego County was the nation's fifth most expensive housing market behind San Jose, San Francisco, Anaheim-Santa Ana, and Honolulu. The median cost for a single-family home in the period of April-June was San Jose, $899,500; San Francisco; $769,600; Anaheim-Santa Ana; $691,900; Honolulu; $678,500; and San Diego, $504,200.

Chuck Buxton