March 18th, 2011 8:55 AM by Lehel S.
The county's median price for an existing, single-family detached home fell 6.3 percent in February to $286,220 compared with the previous month, the California Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.
The median home price was up 1.4percent from a year earlier. Sales were up from January (11.2 percent) but down 9.4 percent from a year earlier.
California's median price for February was $271,320, down 2.8 percent from January and down 2.5 percent from a year ago, figures show.
"With continued concerns about both the economy and housing market, consumers remain tentative
moving forward with any home buying plans," CAR President Beth L. Peerce said in a statement. "Nevertheless, current market conditions and loan rates at some of the lowest of all time continue to present attractive opportunities to those who are in a position to buy."
The biggest month-to-month gain in price appreciation for February happened in Amador County, which saw its median price rise 25 percent to $200,000. The biggest decline (40.5 percent) occurred in Tehama County, which brought its median price down to $83,330.
Locally, things are stable, according to Kathleen Mueller, owner of Mueller Realty in San Gabriel.
"Our area has been and continues to be stable," she said. "We're also seeing slight appreciation and some multiple offers - providing that the properties are priced well."
Some owners want to sell but are holding off in hopes that home prices will gain more traction, Mueller said.
But getting a mortgage loan? Well, that's still no easy task.
"We're still seeing prime borrowers put through the hoop," she said. "They are getting loans but the documentation they have to go through is painful."
Los Angeles County's Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes was 7.8 months in February, up from 6.6 months in January and 5.8 months a year ago.
The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
Mueller expects incremental improvement in the region's housing market this year.
"I see a healthy market with slow improvement of 3 to 5 percent annually," she said.