The 865 sales represent an almost 13 percent jump from August, according to figures released Monday from MDA DataQuick, which has provided The Desert Sun local housing data dating to 1988.
Despite the large jump in September sales, October inventory numbers are up slightly, showing the market is still dealing with “people with troubled loans,” said Greg Berkemer, executive vice president of California Desert Association of Realtors.
“This market is in a very fierce mode of correction,” he said. The market shift is “deeper and more difficult than anyone had anticipated.”
The rise in sales indicates buyers continue to make the best of the desert's ever lowering median prices, which hit $230,000 in September. That's down 37.8 percent from September 2007 and down 8 percent since August.
The last time the valley saw this large of a year-over-year boost was with the 589 sales in January 1989, up 76.9 percent from January 1988. Back then, the median price was $127,000, which also was up from the previous year.
Monday's DataQuick report also shows:
The resale single-family home market is largely responsible for September's sales jump. The 590 resales valley wide is up 151.1 percent compared to September 2007.
Officials have noted that the bulk of homes sold in Riverside County are distressed properties such as foreclosures. Many of those are resale, entry-level homes priced under $500,000.
New construction is not faring as well as the resale market. The 148 new homes sold in September is down 17.3 percent from the year before.
The median price per square foot is at $125, down 41.1 percent from September 2007.
The most expensive Coachella Valley home sold in September was a $2.49 million single-family resale in La Quinta.
While experts say lending restrictions remain tight for higher-end properties, an increasing number of local buyers are turning to the FHA loans to finance entry-level homes and discounted foreclosed homes. They've become increasingly popular as home prices decline and limits for the federally insured loans rise.
A year ago, such loans weren't on the radar at Franklin Loan Center in Palm Desert. Now, they make up 80 percent of their loans, said Patrick Mahon, chief executive officer.
“It looks like there's more on the horizon,” Mahon said.