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Home sales slump 46 percent in La Jolla

The latest data from the La Jolla Real Estate Brokers Association (REBA) suggests that the national housing sales slump is now having a major negative impact locally.

Listings for the first six months of 2008 are down only 9.4 percent from the same period the previous year, a drop to 721 from 796. But the number of homes sold in the same period dropped by 46.3 percent. In the first six months of 2007, La Jolla REBA members sold 373 total properties locally. In the same 2008 period they sold 200.

When the numbers are limited just to La Jolla home sales, the percentages get worse with a 48.8 percent drop in the first six months of 2008. In the first half of 2007, 125 La Jolla homes sold. In the same 2008 period, 64 sold.

Median home prices in La Jolla have not seen a drop, however. The median home price for a La Jolla home sold in the first half of 2007 was $1.91 million. In the first half of 2008, that number rose to $2.15 million.

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REBA officials said these numbers are skewed, however, by the sale of several very expensive homes in La Jolla in recent months.

The total number of homes over $1 million in La Jolla was 68 for the first half of 2008 with an average price of $3.2 million. In the first half of 2007, 119 La Jolla homes over $1 million sold with an average value of $2.56 million.

Condominium sales in La Jolla are also down sharply in the first half of this year. In the first six months of 2007, 98 condo units closed escrow. In the same period this year, 60 condos closed. This represents a 38.7 percent drop.

The median sale price for condos rose from the first half of ’07 to the first half of 2008 from $880,000 to $905,000.

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Sellers seem to be adjusting the drop in sales by lowering their asking prices, though not by a great deal. The median asking price in the first six months of 2007 was $2.85 million. In the same 2008 period the median asking price stood at $2.4 million

REBA officials said that their membership rolls have not been hurt by the downturn. The Association has 600 members and 35 associate members. Because the downturn has hit lending institutions the hardest, the only losses in membership have come from among associate members, mostly mortgage companies.