SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Southern California home sales fell in November as investors showed less interest and the supply of properties for sale remained thin compared to last year, a research firm said Monday. Prices held steady from October.
There were 17,283 new and existing houses and condominiums sold last month, down 10.4 percent from the same period of 2013, DataQuick said.
The median sales price in the six-county region was $385,000, rising slightly from $383,750 in October to match a three-month high. The median price rose 19.9 percent from last year - the 16th straight month of double-digit annual increases.
Waning interest from investors and all-cash buyers followed a sharp increase in prices earlier this year. Prices have held steady for the past six months.
Absentee buyers - mostly investors and second-home purchasers - bought 26.1 percent of the homes for sale in November, down from 28.7 percent the same period last year and 32.4 percent in January. It was the lowest level of investor activity in two years.
Buyers paying all cash accounted for 27.2 percent of sales, down from 34 percent a year earlier and 36.9 percent in January, according to the San Diego-based research firm. It was the lowest level of cash purchases since September 2010.
John Walsh, DataQuick's president, said November sales were underwhelming.
Sales also were influenced by tight supplies.
The California Association of Realtors said there was a 3.6-month supply of homes for sale in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in October - the most recent figure available - up from a 3.3-month supply a year earlier. Supply in a normal market is considered five to seven months.
Sales of lower-priced homes fell sharpest, which DataQuick said reflected a lack of inventory. Homes that sold for below $300,000 tumbled 36.7 percent from last year; sales between $300,000 and $799,999 climbed 5 percent; and homes for at least $800,000 increased 5.1 percent.
All six counties posted lower sales, with Ventura showing the steepest drop (16.5 percent), followed by Los Angeles (11.3 percent) and San Diego (10.5 percent).
Orange County, Southern California's most expensive, registered the strongest price gains, with the median sale rising 24.4 percent from last year to $560,000.