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San Diego REAL ESTATE

Homes Prices Expected To Continue Its Climb

Prices for resale houses in San Diego ended 1999 higher than they started, statistics from the San Diego Association of Realtors show, and a real estate executive sees higher prices this year as well.

At the end of December 1999, the average price of a resale house in the county hit $314, 192. That’s up from $264,265 in December 1998 and a nearly 19 percent increase, the organization reported.

Condominium sales prices were also higher, with the average price hitting $180,913, an approximately $24,000 increase over the average sales price of $156,579 recorded in December 1998. That’s an increase of 15.5 percent.

Ann Throckmorton, executive vice president of Century 21 Able, who works in the University Towne Centre office, said Wednesday the prices will keep rising this year as well.

“It’s very amazing. I don’t remember the inventory being as low as it is right now,” Throckmorton said. “There are only 55 single-family houses on the market today in the county priced under $100,000.”

She’s been in the real estate business since 1976.

In her service area, the 92122 ZIP code, the average asking price for a house is now $410,000. Throckmorton estimated there was about a 45- to 60-day supply of housing inventory available now for sale. That’s in contract to over 180 days worth of inventory five years ago when the county was mired in a real estate recession.

Many people from Orange and Los Angeles counties, where prices are even higher, are relocating here, particularly in the North County area, she said.

“We find that there are a lot of people here who would choose to be move-up buyers at this time, but they look around and there is nothing for them to buy,” she said.

First-time buyers employed in technology fields can qualify for a home loan, but they don’t have the savings, she said. They’re turning to their parents to get the down payment, she said.

Steve Wilson, a broker-associate with Coldwell Banker Residential in El Cajon, where most of the houses are priced under $225,000, sees the current market as the tail end of two years of very good sales activity for both agents and sellers.

“In 1998, people who had been waiting seven or eight years to sell did so, and last year there was a second wave, not as strong as 1998,” Wilson said. “This year, we’re in more of a traditional market, although it is still good.”

He said he is starting to see some list price reductions on properties on the market for more than 45 days. It’s been a couple of years since sellers needed to reduce their list prices because their houses weren’t selling, he added.

“Agents have been complaining about rising interest rates, but I haven’t heard any buyers complain,” Wilson said. “It’s the prices they complain about.”

Currently, conventional loan rates are around 8 percent, with VA loans offered for about 8.25 percent, he said.

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