San Bernardino County house payments soar 49%, cutting sales 9% – San Bernardino Sun

San Bernardino County homebuying chilled 9.2% in May as house payments soar 49% in the past 12 months.

Across Southern California, 20,470 single-family, condominium, existing and newly constructed homes — sold in six counties, down 5% for the month, and down 16% over the past year. The region’s median price of $760,000 was flat for the month, and up 13% over 12 months.

Pricier home loans meant SoCal’s typical buyer got a house payment of $3,188 a month payment for the $760,000 median vs. $2,269 a year ago on the $670,000 median. That’s a 40% jump in the theoretical monthly check to the lender.

Here’s what my trusty spreadsheet found in the DQNews report on San Bernardino County’s closed transactions in May …


The tally: 2,715 San Bernardino County residences sold. This was the No. 18 busiest May of the 35 since 1988.

One-month change: 6% decrease from April. Since 1988, sales have fallen in this 30-day period 35% of the time with an average 5.0% increase from April.

12-month change: 9.2% decrease — No. 96 biggest decline since 1988 (or it’s been worse 24% of the time.)

Pre-pandemic: May sales were 6% above the 2,562 average buying pace of the month, 2010-2019


The median: $520,000 for all residences, up 0.10% in the month, up 20.4% over 12 months. This breaks the S.B. median’s record of $519,500 set in April.

One-month trend: 0.1% increase. Since 1988, a typical May had prices rise 71% of the time with with an average 1.5% gain.

One-year trend: Latest gain tops 87% of all 12-month periods since 1988.

Pandemic era? 14 price records have been broken since February 2020. The median’s $170,000 increase equals a gain of $8.60 every hour over these 27 months. 

Key slices

Existing single-family houses: 2,213 sold, down 10% in a year. Median of $500,000 — a 18% increase over 12 months.

Existing condos: 144 sales, down 18% over 12 months. Median of $516,000 — a 26% increase in a year.

Newly built: Builders sold 358 new homes, down 1% in a year. Median of $600,750 — a 24% increase over 12 months.

Builder share: 13.2% of sales vs. 12.1% a year earlier.

Bigger picture

Rates: How pricey has money become? Rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.79% in the three months ending in May vs. 3.03% a year earlier. That translates to 19% less buying power for house hunters. (Larger drops occurred only 2% of the time since 1971.)

Payment pain: Changing rates meant a buyer paid $2,181 a month for ‘s $520,000 median priced-residence vs. 12 months earlier $1,463 monthly on a $432,000 median. So prices rose 20% vs. a house payment’s 49% increase.

Downpayment: 20% down was $104,000 last month, up $17,600 in a year.

What sellers are thinking: Inland Empire listings are up 52% in the 12 months ended in May — No. 4 jump of 50 big metro areas, according to Los Angeles-Orange County inventory is up 5%, No. 31 of 50.

Affordability: Ponder how much house you get for $1 million, according to Zillow. Los Angeles County buyers get 1,684 square feet — 33% smaller than the U.S. average of 2,528. Orange County is 1,687 square feet (33% smaller), San Bernardino County is 2,582 square feet (2% larger), and Riverside County is 3,032 square feet (20% larger).

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at

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