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Resale detached home market in upswing, while new attached units largely unsold

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The single-family detached home market may tell the tale of what is going on in most of San Diego County's home sales stories, but for the city of San Diego, downtown condos have become the 20-story elephants in the room.

There are 43 different single-family attached projects throughout San Diego County's central region and more than 1,000 unsold units, according to MarketPointe Realty Advisor's Residential Trends second-quarter report.

With that many units on the market, it could be difficult to sell them. However, total attached inventory has dropped for the eighth consecutive quarter.

If the trend continues, it could create a hunger for an increasingly small pool of properties, but so far this year, that has not been the case.

According to DataQuick, new condo sales have been down 52 percent during the first half of this year compared to last.

Also, the real estate climate could change dramatically depending on what happens with downtown's largest development, Vantage Pointe.

While it was supposed to have 679 units and be ready for occupancy this spring, the building was not completed on time and ended up refunding the deposits of hopeful residents.

The project is now in limbo with regard to how it will proceed. The colossal building could be divided into five phases in order to meet occupancy requirements set out by the state.

Additionally, Vantage Pointe may end up renting out more than a quarter of its units.

The project is in such a state that MarketPointe did not list it at all in its Residential Trends second-quarter report.

The average weighted price of a new, single-family attached home in San Diego was $440,789 in the second quarter of 2009, which is a 4 percent decrease from the first quarter, but a 2 percent year-over-year increase over 2008's second quarter.

There are currently no new single-family detached home projects in central San Diego.

The resale market tells a different story of central San Diego from the new home market, according to statistics from the North San Diego County Association of Realtors.

The single-family detached resold home in central San Diego made a nearly 10 percent jump in median price from May to June. The June median of $380,000 is still down 8 percent from June 2008.

However, Jason Hall, broker and owner of RE/MAX Associates in San Diego, said it is important for buyers to realize there are numerous housing "markets" in San Diego that are experiencing different levels of activity at different price points.

"In most parts of the county in the price range that we would consider for more first-time buyers, under $500,000 or the $350,000-$400,000 area, it's multiple offers on almost everything," he said.

"In La Jolla, though, things have been pretty slow."

Lower-priced areas like Logan Heights, for example, have seen sales in the area more than triple from 65 sales in 2008 to 116 so far this year.

The number of detached homes sold in San Diego's metro region rose every month so far in 2009, with the exception of a slight dip in May.

Still, from January to June in San Diego's metro area, 2009 is outpacing last year, with 2,350 detached homes sold compared to 1,821 in 2008.

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