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Valley Home Sales Up, But Down in Palm Desert

July a rough month for home sales in PD, prices also decreasing

The median sales price of Coachella Valley single family homes rose slightly in July, reflecting a statewide trend although the number of sales dipped slightly in July, compared to July 2011, the California Desert Association of REALTORS® reported today.

For Palm Desert, the news isn't as bright.  Number of sales, average price and median price were all lower from July 2011.

The number of single family home sold in July were virtually identical compared to a year ago, but the average sale price dropped nearly $60,000, to an average of $277,000.   The median price fell by $21,000 to $260,000.

Condo sales also slipped, down four units in July, while the average sales price of $219,000 was down fron that same month a year ago.

Marnie Balog, president of the California Desert Association of REALTORS®, believes sales rates are artifically low due to strain on local escrow offices.

"I have observed many sales both personally and from discussing with other agents that a number of closings have been delayed in the last six weeks due to lenders being very backed up with the amount of loans that they are underwriting," she said. The loans are just not closing on time. Right now, it is not uncommon to see 45-day escrow offers written compared to just two months ago, 30-day escrows were the norm for sales being financed."

As of August 15, the Coachella Valley saw 194 single family homes sold and there were 645 in escrow. "It is very possible we are seeing sales scheduled to close in July that will be actually closing in August," Balog said.

Valley wide, there were 512 single family home sales in July down from 533 in July 2011. The median price for single family homes was $318,700 last month, up from the $314,900 in July 2011. The average sales price for July 2012 was $380,200 up from $377,100 for July 2011. 

Balog noted that the number of distressed sales, which includes short sales and foreclosures, dropped to 40 percent of July’s total sales volume compared to 55 percent in July 2011.

"Many investors who have been participating in purchasing properties at auction are finding fewer and fewer properties that make sense financially to 'fix and flip,'” she said. "Many of them are attending the auctions to find out that the properties they came to purchase have had their sale dates postponed which could indicate the banks are working more diligently with homeowners and agents in successfully obtaining loan modifications or cooperating with short sales."

Available inventory in July 2012 was down 11.3 percent from June 2012. Balog said. For sellers who have been waiting to list until "the season hits," they just may want to consider getting their properties on the market now while Inventory levels are so low."

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