The Inland Empire, which had been buoyed by foreclosure sales, was the only part of Southern California to see sales drop. San Bernardino County, the least expensive county surveyed with a median sales price of $180,000, saw sales tumble 11.7 percent from last year. Riverside County witnessed a 9.4 percent sales decline.
The Inland Valleys Association of Realtors, which represents large parts of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, recorded 51,797 sales listings last year, the lowest since it began keeping track in 2001, said Paul Herrera, director of government relations and communications. Yet there were 43,587 homes sold, which is about average, suggesting there is enough demand to support more sales.
Herrera said listings will increase when homeowners who bought properties in the past two or three years decide to take profits.
"The demand is there, but the supply has to match it," he said. "It has to come from new construction ... or hopefully gains in value."
Pricier, coastal regions posted the strongest sales gains. Orange County, the most expensive county with a median sales price of $470,000, saw sales jump by 19.4 percent from last year. San Diego County, with a median sales price of $366,000, had the second strongest sales growth, up 13.5 percent.