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San Diego County median home price starts the year at $640,000

Home for sale photo
(File)

The median price for January represents a 9.4 percent increase in a year.

San Diego County started the year with a $640,000 median home price brought on by intense competition over limited home inventory.

The January price represents a 9.4 percent increase in 12 months following major gains during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is down from the high of $650,000 reached in September to November.

Experts continue to point to low mortgage rates and limited supply as primary reasons the price rose so much in 2020 and likely will continue to rise in 2021. Analysts also say millennials aging into homeownership and stay-at-home workers wanting a better space are factors in high demand.

Mark Goldman, a real estate analyst with C2 Financial Corp., said the number of homes for sale is not likely to change soon. Many potential sellers have decided to hold back during the pandemic — leaving the most dedicated buyers to compete over a limited number of homes for sale.

“I don’t think the COVID influence on the market has changed that much,” he said.

There were 3,347 active listings in San Diego County from Jan. 4 to Jan. 31, according to the Redfin Data Center. That’s down from 5,456 around the same time in 2020; 7,751 in 2019; 5,720 in 2018; and 6,051 in 2017.

Goldman said part of the reason listings look so low is that homes are selling so rapidly that it is hard for them to get counted in total listings. Redfin said the median days on the market for a San Diego County home was about 14 in January, compared with 35 at the same time last year.

“Anything on the market just gets sucked up,” he said.

Mortgage rates remained near historic lows in January. The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.74 percent, according to Freddie Mac, down from 3.62 percent a year earlier. The rate was up slightly from December’s average of 2.68 percent, which was the lowest in records going back to 1971.

Here is how different home types fared:

  • Single-family resale: Median of $710,000, down from a record $730,000 in October. There were 1,625 sales.
  • Resale condominiums: Median of $480,000, down from the record $485,000 in September. There were 842 sales.
  • Newly built: Median of $734,500, with 180 sales. The median hit a record $812,500 in October 2018 when there was an increase in luxury single-family homes for sale.

Median home prices were up 13 percent for the year across the six-county Southern California region. Riverside County had the biggest increase at 17.1 percent for a median of $455,364.

It was followed by Los Angeles County, up 12.6 percent for a median of $690,000; San Bernardino County, up 11.8 percent for a median of $402,500; Ventura County, up 11.2 percent for a median of $655,000; San Diego County with the 9.4 percent increase; and Orange County, up 6.7 percent for a median of $799,000. ◆