Number of low-price homes plummets in state - latimes.com:
"Competition for lower-priced homes in California is so hot that the number of cheaper homes available for sale has sunk more than 40% in the last year, pushing out many would-be buyers. Homes that sold for $313,200 or less were the most competitive type of home nationally, but nowhere did inventory in that price range drop more than in the Golden State, according to a report released Thursday by real estate website Zillow."
So in California, a $312,000 home is "lower-priced," even in a post-housing bubble market. How are middle class Americans supposed to buy these palaces with their stagnant wages, assuming they aren't already reduced to selling oranges at freeway on-ramps and living in a tent in their mother-in-law's back yard? The problem now, in post-bust America, is that investors (colloquially known to some as "vulture capitalists") have taken over the low end of the housing market: "First-time home buyers are being squeezed out of the market by falling inventory and the rapid influx of investors looking to buy basic homes to rent out," Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries said. "Investors are paying in cash and can close sooner, which is more favorable to banks and homeowners looking to sell."