After a one-month breather, the median price per square foot of resale San Diego homes jumped last month. Prices by this measure rose by 3.0 percent for single family home and — get ready for this — by a screaming 11.3 percent for condos. A volume-weighted aggregate of the two property types’ prices rose 5.4 percent.
The accompanying graph shows that this price metric tends to be pretty volatile for condos, so I wouldn’t make a whole lot of that 11.3 percent number. But even the comparatively staid single family median rose by an unusually large amount. It seems pretty clear that prices as a whole have resumed their upward march.
This strength suggests that my “stretching to the double-dip finish line” theory was on the mark. Here’s how I described it when discussing April’s price and volume weakness:
As many readers have doubtless read elsewhere, we are in a brief period in which Californians can get two home buyer tax credits: the Federal credit, and the new California credit. (Why a state with serial budget crises is spending $100 million to render its housing supply less affordable is a topic for another time). The Federal credit is good through June, but the California credit didn’t start up until May. So in order to double-dip, buyers need to close in May or June.
The idea I’m working toward is that some buyers might have wished to wait until May to close their sales, rendering April a weak month for closings. And we will see in the next update that sales activity did indeed decline from the prior month. This lack of demand to buy in the month of April might have exerted some downward pressure on prices.
May did indeed turn out to be a very strong month for prices and, as I will write about in the next entry, sales. The double-dip appears to be having an effect, and as such we can expect another strong month in June. What happens after that — especially after the California credit expires — is another question entirely.
— RICH TOSCANO