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Real Estate Single-family homes top $381,000 in January 2001

Resale residential real estate prices are continuing their double-digit annual price rise, statistics from the San Diego Association of Realtors show.

In January, the average price of a single-family detached house in the county hit $381,549, an increase of 10.7 percent more than January 2000.

The median price, that price at which half the houses sold for more and half for less, climbed 14.2 percent to $280,000, up from $245,000 last year.

Attached housing such as condominiums also rose in January with the average price rocketing to $223,925, a 21.4 percent increase more than the 12 months earlier figure of $184,415, the statistics showed.

The median price climbed from $154,500 in January 2000 to reach $177,500 last month as well. That’s a 14.8 percent increase.

The number of properties closing escrow fell to 1,981 in January from 2,337 in January 2000, a 15.2 percent drop. New listings coming on the market climbed to 5,297 from 5,146 a year before , a 3 percent increase.

“Lack of sufficient supply versus a consistent demand for housing will always force prices up,” said Rick Hoffman, president of the SDAR. “Over the last few years, we haven’t had a significant amount of new residential construction in the county, either.”

The difficulty and time involved in processing new subdivisions has contributed to the housing shortage, he said.

He said changes in zoning that would allow increased housing density in center city areas would also help make housing cheaper by making the basic cost of land per unit lower.

A house in San Diego County is still a bargain when compared to housing prices in the San Francisco Bay area and the Silicon Valley just to the south, he said.

“A three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,200-square-foot house in San Jose sells for about $600,000,” Hoffman said.

By comparison, a similar-size house in Santee currently sells for around $200,000, SDAR statistics show.

“We’re seeing people come in from the San Francisco area, but they’re not the only ones who are buying here,” said Patrick J. Lynn, owner of Patrick J. Lynn & Associates, a metro San Diego real estate firm. “We’re also getting people from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and for the most part they think prices here are OK.”

The buyers he’s dealing with are high-tech industry workers, attorneys and business owners. He’s concerned about the high price of housing here that seems to be keeping the middle class in rentals.

“I think the county needs to streamline the processing time for subdivision maps and they also need to make sure when they are setting up these projects they are also looking carefully at the infrastructure needs,” Lynn said. “My personal opinion is that infrastructure development here is lagging behind the number of houses being built.”

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