“It looks like we’re pretty close to a floor level of purchase activity right now. Market uncertainty has squeezed out most discretionary buying,” Data-Quick President Marshall Prentice said. August’s median price increased an annual 2.7percent to $500,000 and slipped 1 percent from July. In Los Angeles County, sales fell an annual 34.4percent to 6,647 transactions but the median price increased 5.8 percent to $550,000. The price gain reflects more sales at the higher priced end of the market. After correcting for those price distortions, DataQuick said that in real terms prices across the region started falling in January and are now about 3.5 percent below the year ago level. The median price in Ventura County fell an annual 4.7 percent to $575,000 and sales declined 31.2percent to 789 transactions. The Inland Empire counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, hard hit by rising foreclosures, posted the biggest sales drop in August. In San Bernardino they plunged 47.2percent to 2,096 transactions and the median price fell 1.6percent to $360,000. Sales in Riverside County tumbled 46.4percent to 2,834 transactions and the median price fell an annual 6.1 percent to $394,523. Foreclosure resales accounted for 8.8percent of August’s sales activity, up from 8.3 percent in July, and up from 2.2 percent in August 2006. Foreclosures do not yet have a marketwide effect on prices, although foreclosure discounts appear to be emerging in some local Inland Empire and High Desert markets, DataQuick said. DataQuick analyst John Karevoll said that sales will remain low for the next six months or maybe longer and that prices will fall in most areas. The big question now is how much equity will be retained in the runaway price environment of the first half of this decade. “Do we keep 90 percent or 80percent of of that?” DataQuick analyst John Karevoll said. “For the vast majority of California homeowners that’s a pretty good problem to have.” [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Sales plunged in L.A. County, but it posted the region’s biggest price gain. By Gregory J. Wilcox STAFF WRITER Home sales plunged across Southern California to their lowest level in 15 years and prices declined in all but two markets as the nation’s growing credit mess bogged down more buyers, sellers and lenders, an industry tracker said Wednesday. The big Los Angeles County market also saw a steep sales drop but it did post the region’s biggest price gain, said DataQuick Information Systems. Last month, sales in the six county region plunged 36.3percent to 17,755 transactions and slipped 0.6percent from July, said the La Jolla- based company. That’s the smallest number of sales for any August since 1992, when 16,379 homes sold. The 1992 figure is the all-time low for any August in DataQuick’s statistics, which go back to 1988. The strongest August was in 2003, when 39,562 homes sold. The August average is 28,160 sales.