Statewide, 29,225 homes were sold in February, down .8% from January and up 42.5% from one year ago. In Southern California, 15,231 were sold, statistically unchanged from January and up 41.3% from one year ago.

The statewide median price paid for a home was still $224,000, the same as in January. For the first time in 10 months, the median price did not decline. The So. Cal. median price also stayed put from its January price of $250,000, down 38.7% from one year ago. However, the drop in the median price is deceiving as the majority of the sales were of low-end value properties, while high-end property sales have stagnated.

Of the homes sold statewide, 58.4% were foreclosed upon, up from 33.3% one year ago. Foreclosed properties accounted for 56.4% of So. Cal. resales activity.

The typical mortgage payment a homebuyer committed himself to paying was $976 statewide and $1090 in So. Cal. The So. Cal. typical mortgage payment is down from the $1,940 it was in February of 2008. But it is investors and speculators in single family residence (SFR) sales that are producing the numbers, not users.

first tuesday take: This is last month’s information. What is your opinion about next month, April? As a reader active in real estate sales and rentals, you probably already have a good understanding about what happened in March and is yet to be reported to confirm your judgment call. Does anyone forecast April, May, or June 2009 sales?

The existence of so many speculators and investors as the driving force behind the sales volume of low-cost SFR properties is not a good sign for future real estate sales. They are the first investors in, and thus they are way too early to be getting in on the best prices which are certainly yet to come. When this is realized by these speculators, the sales volume will drop dramatically as they lay low until a price bottom (not median) has arrived for the low-end properties they are presently acquiring. Remember, California has between 700,000 and 800,000 properties to yet run through foreclosure before the sky will open up to stable pricing.

Re: “California February Statewide Home Sales/Median Prices” and “Southland home sales outpace last year again; median price steady” from MDA DataQuick.