Statewide, 35, 860 homes were sold in November, down 13.1% from October, but up 11.5% from one year ago. 19,181 of these homes were sold in Southern California (So Cal), down 13.3% from October, but up 14.7% from one year ago.

The statewide median price paid for the phantom median-priced home was $261,000, up 1.6% from October and up 1.2% from one year ago. The So Cal median price was $285,000, up 1.8% from its October price of $280,000, equal to prices from one year ago. These median dollar amounts and percentages represent no specific home, except by mere coincidence.

Of the homes sold statewide, 40.6% were foreclosed real estate owned (REO) properties, down from 55.9% one year ago when REO properties were in greater abundance. Foreclosed properties accounted for 39.1% of So Cal resale activity. Some mortgage principal, taxes and insurance payments will be less than rent for many tenants, as they were prior to the mid-1970s before a home changed from being a nest to an investment.

The typical mortgage payment a homebuyer committed himself to paying was $1,106 statewide and $1,207 in So Cal. The So Cal typical mortgage payment is down $173 from the $1,380 in November of 2008.

Foreclosure activity has slowed in recent months though is still comparatively high by historical standards. The size of down payments is stable, financing with multiple mortgages is low and the volume of investor activity is above average in some California markets.

ft take: Nearly a quarter of all buyers in November 2009 paid all cash, evidence of much speculator activity and little long-term investment. But the real bottom has yet to come and seasoned investors know this and are waiting. The uptick in sales activity is froth whipped up by government intervention in the form of the federal tax credit and low interest rates, which have been kept low to entice renters to become owners.  [For more information on the federal tax credit, see the December 2009 first tuesday blog article, Homebuyer tax credit part 2: return of the subsidy; for more information on speculators, see the December 2009 first tuesday blog article, Flippers abound in the sea of short sales.]

Re: “Southland home sales and prices up,” from DataQuick