“Things are clearly getting worse,” said Christopher Thornberg, a principal with Beacon Economics. “It’s going to remain terrible for some time.” Thornberg said the number of mortgages that are 60 to 90 days overdue is climbing, foreshadowing a higher number or foreclosures in the coming months. However, sales could recover as prices drop, especially with California’s population growing and the economy producing new jobs, said Stephen Levy, senior economist at the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “What I think will happen is that prices will continue to go down, and the volume of activity will start to level off and go up in a year or so as prices become more affordable,” Levy said. Levy noted that monthly home sales in the state have now dropped below figures from the early 1990s, when California’s economy suffered a recession. But he believes it will take far less time for sales to recover during this housing slump. “Buyers have essentially gone on strike, and we need more price correction,” Levy said. “In the early 1990s, because sellers got stubborn, it took seven or eight years to recover. I think this market will clear more quickly.” Prentice said there’s a good chance there will be some “catch-up” sales activity between now and the end of the year as jumbo loans become more available. “Still, we can’t expect the market to rebalance itself until sometime in 2008,” she said. At least not until jumbo shows up again. The Associated Press contributed to this story. [email protected] (909) 483-9395160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Some of last month’s drop was part of the longer-term slowing trend,” DataQuick President Marshall Prentice said in a release. “But most of it was due to mortgage market turbulence and difficulties in getting jumbo financing.” The current level for a jumbo loan nationally is $417,000, more than enough to buy a home in most of the country. But with the Southern California median at $462,000 even after a 4percent drop, a jumbo loan is anything but extraordinary. With jumbo rebelling, home sales were down 29.9 percent from August and off 48.5 percent from a year ago, the slowest September ever reported in DataQuick’s 20-year history. Actually, the sales total of 12,455 homes in the region was the lowest for any month, edging the 12,459 sales in February 1995. The biggest price drops came in San Bernardino County, off 11 percent to $325,000, and Riverside County, off 10.8 percent to $375,500. Blame it on jumbo. No, not the 1962 Doris Day/Jimmy Durante movie about a lovable elephant. These jumbos are the mortgages required when a home loan exceeds federal lending limits, and they’re a drag on the California housing market. September home sales in the Southland were at their lowest level in more than 20 years, DataQuick Information Services reported Tuesday, and the difficulty in getting jumbo mortgages was a big factor.