San Diego County's median home price hit its highest price in history in July 2018, $579,750, while sales hit a four-year low, real estate tracker CoreLogic reported.
The previous record was $575,000 in May. Home prices have been breaking records on nearly a month-to-month basis all year. As of July, home prices had increased 8 percent in a year — the most of any Southern California county.
Home sales hit its lowest point in years in July with 3,607 sales. The last time sales were that low was July 2014, when the county was still coming out of the housing bust, when there were 3,530 sales.
Affordability constraints for many potential buyers could be the reason why sales are so low despite more homes on the market, said CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage in the monthly report. "The overall trend in recent months has been toward more listings," he wrote, "suggesting that sales also remain weak relative to current housing demand because more and more would-be buyers are unable or unwilling to buy."
Home inventory has increased slightly in recent months, but it is still below levels reached in years past, said data from the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. There were 7,613 homes listed for sale in July, up from July 2016 when 5,828 homes were for sale, and 6,571 homes for sale in July 2015.
In 2010, during the Great Recession, there were as many as 13,000 homes on sale in a given month.
In July, resale single-family homes tied the peak median of $630,000 reached in June with 2,314 sales. Resale condos hit their highest ever median of $432,000 with 1,080 sales. The median for newly built homes was $703,750, but was limited to 213 sales.
San Diego County's 8 percent increase in a year outpaces the rest of the region, but it is still a cheaper option for coastal California.
Orange County home prices were up 6.6 percent in a year with a median of $735,750, Ventura County prices were up 6.3 percent for a median of $595,000 and Los Angeles County increased 5.7 percent for a median of $607,500.
Interior counties' median home price increases still did not keep up with San Diego. In San Bernardino County, home prices were up 6.6 percent for a median of $325,000 and up 5.8 percent in Riverside County for a median of $386,000.
Dana Kuhn, real estate lecturer at San Diego State University, said affordability constraints and the number of people leaving the region for cheaper areas may slow the price increases. He said declining sales will not be the best indicator that sales are starting to slow down.
"The better indicator of that will be rising inventory of homes for sale and longer market times for those offered," Kuhn said.
While inventory of homes is increasing, days on market still tends to be very quick. Based on a 12-month rolling average, the average days it took for a San Diego County home to sell in July was 28, down from 31 at the same time last year.
Condos from $250,001 to $500,000 sold the fastest, staying on the market 21 days.
Investors are still finding value in the San Diego market. Absentee buyers, typically investors who don't intend on living in the home as a primary residence, made up 20.1 percent of sales in July, up from 19.4 percent of sales at the same time last year. In early 2013, more than 30 percent of sales went to absentee buyers.
For areas with at least 10 sales, Solana Beach (92075) had the biggest price increase for single-family resale homes in a year at 41 percent for a median of $1.8 million. It was followed by Coronado (92118) with an increase of 32 percent and a median of $2.4 million and Cardiff (92007) with an increase of 31 percent with a median of $1.1 million.
For resale condos, Oceanside (92054) had the biggest yearly increase at 50 percent with a median of $566,000. It was followed by Clairemont (92117) with a 37 percent increase and a median of $475,000 and Encinitas (92024) with a 32 percent increase and a median of $641,000.
When adjusting for inflation, San Diego County's home price has still not reached its pre-housing crash price. In November 2005, the median hit $517,500, which would be nearly $660,000 today.