Homes sales fell in San Diego and across Southern California in February as buyers struggled with higher prices, lower inventory and credit hurdles, the real estate information service DataQuick reported.

In San Diego County, sales fell nearly 9 percent to 2,779 homes while the median price rose over 14 percent to $410,000.

For-sale signs in California. Photo by Colin Robertson via The Truth About Mortgage

A total of 14,027 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month.

That was down 3.1 percent from 14,471 in January, and down 12.0 percent from 15,945 sales in February 2013, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

“February was another month with lackluster home sales, and the fifth in a row where sales fell short of the same month a year earlier,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. “The drop in housing affordability is enough to nudge some out of the market. Other would-be buyers have no doubt called ‘time out’ while re-evaluating their housing priorities, or watching for signs the market has overshot a sustainable price level.”

“But there’s still reason to expect significant pressure on the market,” he added. “The economy is growing, creating jobs. People who lost homes to a short sale or foreclosure over the last eight years will be looking to buy again. On the supply side, inventory is increasing, as it normally does this time of year, but so far there hasn’t been an explosion of new listings, and new-home construction is still well below average.”

Indicators of market distress continue to decline, DataQuick noted. Foreclosure activity remains well below year-ago and far below peak levels. Financing with multiple mortgages is very low, and down payment sizes are stable.

Here is how home sales and prices fared across Southern California:

CountySales VolumeMedian Price
Feb-13Feb-14%ChngFeb-13Feb-14%Chng
Los Angeles5,4814,595-16.20%$350,000$426,00021.70%
Orange2,2522,105-6.50%$477,000$567,00018.90%
Riverside2,8332,443-13.80%$228,000$285,00025.00%
San Bernardino1,9591,843-5.90%$175,000$225,00028.60%
San Diego2,7792,541-8.60%$359,000$410,00014.20%
Ventura641500-22.00%$389,000$432,00011.10%
All SoCal15,94514,027-12.00%$320,000$383,00019.70%

— From a DataQuick press release

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.