Southern California's median home price hits a record $520,000 despite rising mortgage rates
New homes under construction last year in Murrieta. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times / Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California home prices in April surged 7.2% from a year earlier to reach an all-time high, a sharp increase at a time when rising mortgage rates are making an already pricey housing market even more so.

The region’s median sale price for new and resale houses and condos was $520,000, up $1,000 from the previous high set in March, according to a report released Wednesday by real estate data firm CoreLogic.

“It’s extremely hot,” Derek Oie, an Inland Empire real estate agent, said of the market. “When is it going to end?”

Job growth has been steady and there are too few homes being built, experts say, creating a persistant mismatch between supply and demand.

Indeed, home sales fell 1.5% in April compared with a year earlier — possibly because the number of homes offered for sale has fallen in recent months compared to the same time in 2017, according to online brokerage Redfin. The sales drop also could signal that more buyers are struggling to afford the homes that are on the market.

Another factor arguing against a collapse of prices is that lending standards are far tighter than the last time the housing market crashed the economy.

“We are not at a breaking point yet,” said Jordan Levine, an economist with the California Assn. of Realtors. “When the inflection point is going to…