Home sales surge in LA and OC...so have the prices

- The number of single-family homes that changed ownership in May in Los Angeles County surged from the previous month, while median prices continued trending upward, the California Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.

The number of houses that sold last month in Los Angeles County was 24.9 percent higher than the month before, and 7.3 percent above May 2016, according to CAR data.

The median sales price in the county in May was $494,040, up from $480,230 in April, and well above the median of $467,290 in May 2016.

In Orange County, May sales were up 22.8 percent over April, and 5.9 percent ahead of May 2016. The median home price in Orange County was $795,000 last month, up from $775,000 in April and over the median of $731,750 in May of last year.

CAR reported that the median sales price for a house statewide in May was $550,200, the highest in almost a decade. That's 2.3 percent above April and 5.8 percent more than May of last year.

Statewide sales totals were 5.4 percent higher from the month before and 2.6 percent from the year before.

"Mortgage rates dropping to the lowest level since November could have been a motivating factor for the sales increase in May," said CAR President Geoff McIntosh. "The low interest rate environment, however, may not last long as the Federal Reserve's gradual rate hike and plan to reduce its balance sheet will likely lead to higher rates, and could change the momentum of the market."

CAR Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young noted a disconnect between buyers and available homes for sale will continue to elevate prices and worsen the affordability problem.

New active listings around California declined for the 23rd straight month in May, falling 12.4 percent from a year ago. The drop, associated with May's heightened sales figures, will combine to make the inventory problem even
worse, according to CAR.

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