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In the previous post we saw the media snippet that heralded the 12% increase in San Diego’s median sales price year-over-year.  The local realtor-association president buttoned it up by anointing the local real estate market as “clearly heading in the right direction”, and now we can to go back to convincing people that it is a great time to both buy and sell.

Rarely do you see anyone digging further into the data, or explanation on how the median-price movement can be caused by a shift in the mix of homes in the samples.  Or just noting that the median prices can bounce around, or question how valid the datapoint might be when you are measuring the whole county.

Let’s narrow the median-price examination down to three smaller regions, starting with our favorite, the detached homes from La Jolla to Carlsbad.

NSDCC September Detached Sales:

SEPT # of sales Median SP Median $/sf
2010
220
$860,000
$345/sf
2011
228
$805,000
$318/sf
2012
284
$772,500
$307/sf

Maybe Carlsbad is dragging down the tonier southern neighbors? The sales in Carlsbad made up 45% of last month’s total, so if we remove those maybe the upper-crust median price will show the double-digit improvemnet Y-O-Y.

NSDCC September Detached Sales (without Carlsbad):

SEPT # of sales Median SP Median $/sf
2010
143
$1,042,900
$388/sf
2011
133
$979,000
$364/sf
2012
156
$962,500
$362/sf

Nope, even the highest-end median price struggled in September.

Has the lower-end market been red hot, pushing the county’s median price higher?  All you need to skew the median data is a pricing surge from below  – let’s check the Oceanside/Vista market, where flippers have been very active, which you would think could cause a rapid increase in pricing.

Oceanside and Vista September Detached Sales

SEPT # of sales Median SP Median $/sf
2010
175
$341,500
$200/sf
2011
183
$325,000
$183/sf
2012
188
$340,000
$186/sf

No big 12% pops in any median price around the north coast. For there to be a 12% increase in the county’s September Y-O-Y median price, can we surmise that either the Lakeside/El Cajon market is carrying the county, SE San Diego is smoking, or there was a dip in September 2011 and we’ve had a bit of a rebound since?

The MLS only allows searches of 500 listings or less, so I can’t verify the county numbers, but who cares – all that matters is what’s happening in your local community.

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