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Relocation tough for mid-range homebuyers in SoCal

San Diego is one of the markets where mid-range home sales volumes are down.

San Diego is one of the markets where mid-range home sales volumes are down.

The budget and luxury housing markets appear to be moving in the right direction in Southern California, but May to June sales declined for mid-range homes in the area, according to figures recently released by DataQuick.

In the region considered by DataQuick, which includes Los Angeles and San Diego, sales of houses priced below $200,000 went up 6.3 percent in June, while sales remained unchanged for houses priced $800,000 or more. However, sales volumes slumped 4.9 percent for houses priced between $300,000 and $800,000. Year-over-year sales for this price point were down 25.5 percent, compared to declines of 11.4 percent for houses priced under $200,000 and 17.6 percent for those listed at $800,000-plus.

DataQuick surmised many homeowners in this mid-range demographic are unable to relocate because declining property values have left them holding underwater mortgages. At $285,000, June's median sales price for Southern California houses was the highest since December, but the marks the fourth consecutive month in which the median sales price was lower than a year ago.

These DataQuick figures for prominent West Coast markets were similar to recent sales figures from Manhattan, where the market has been improving this year but is not as robust as it was in 2010.