The August average is 28,160 sales. “It looks like we’re pretty close to a floor level of purchase activity right now. Market uncertainty has squeezed out most discretionary buying,” DataQuick President Marshall Prentice said. August’s median price increased an annual 2.7 percent to $500,000, but slipped 1 percent from July. In Los Angeles County, sales fell an annual 34.4 percent 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 under the year-ago level. In Ventura County, the median price fell an annual 4.7 percent to $575,000 and sales declined 31.2 percent, to 789 transactions. Riverside and San Bernardino counties, hard hit by rising foreclosures, posted the biggest sales drop in August. 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, according to DataQuick Information Systems. Last month, sales in the six-county region plunged 36.3 percent to 17,755 transactions and slipped 0.6 percent from July, the La Jolla-based company said. That’s the smallest number of sales for any August since 1992, when 16,379 homes sold, the lowest for any August in DataQuick’s statistics, which go back to 1988. The strongest August was in 2003, when 39,562 homes sold. In San Bernardino, sales plunged 47.2percent to 2,096 transactions, and the median price fell 1.6 percent, to $360,000. In Riverside, sales tumbled 46.4 percent to 2,834 transactions, and the median 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 2.2percent in August of last year. 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 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 80 percent of of that?” Karevoll said. “For the vast majority of California homeowners, that’s a pretty good problem to have.” firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!