Home Prices Rise in Los Angeles

Home Prices Rise in Los Angeles LOS ANGELES, CA - Los Angeles County eked out its second median home price gain in April after more than a year and a half of declines, the California Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

The county's median price for an existing, single-family detached home rose 1.9 percent to $300,690 in April. But that was still 31 percent below the year-ago price of $435,980. Sales were up 9.7 percent for the month in L.A. County, and they increased 43.1 percent from a year earlier.

Chris Vigil, a broker/associate with Keller Williams in Whittier, said the Southland housing market is picking up steam. "The consensus among agents in my office is that this feels like a sellers' market," he said. "Every house is getting multiple offers. You're often competing with up to 10 offers on a house."

Home prices may be up in L.A. County, but other areas of the state haven't fared nearly as well. The troubled Inland Empire - ground zero for much of Southern California's housing meltdown - posted a 6.3 percent decline in its median home price in April, the second biggest monthly decline in the state.

That brought its median price down to $156,840, well below the year-ago price of $278,800. Sales in the two-county region were off by 0.9 percent for the month but up 99.4 percent from a year ago, according to CAR figures.

The price declines in San Bernardino and Riverside counties ranked second only to the High Desert region, which saw its median price for April fall 7.1 percent to $106,530. Year-over-year sales in the High Desert were up by a staggering 146.9 percent.

Other areas that weathered March-to-April price declines include Monterey County (-2.3 percent), Northern Wine Country (-3.9 percent), Orange County (-2.8 percent), Palm Springs/Lower Desert (-4.8 percent), Sacramento (-1.2 percent) and San Luis Obispo (-6 percent).

Bill Velto, a broker/manager for Tarbell Realtors in Upland, said scores of potential buyers are lined up to buy bank-owned properties.

In Fontana, for example, foreclosures and short sales account for about 80 percent of the transactions his office handles. "We're getting 10 to 15 offers on every property," he said. "I think the banks are being wise by not dumping a lot of these on the market because that would hurt them by driving down prices on other properties."

The median home price in most San Gabriel Valley cities is far below what it was a year ago. Altadena showed the biggest year-over-year decline - a 42.2 percent drop down to $350,000, followed by Baldwin Park, which saw its median price fall 41.7 percent to $210,000.

San Bernardino County weathered even more severe extremes. The city of San Bernardino saw its median price fall 61.6 percent to $73,000, while Highland posted a 63.1 percent drop, bringing its median price to $120,000.

"I don't think we'll be out of this recession anytime soon," Vigil said. "There are a lot more loans that will be adjusting over the next year."

More bad news arrived Thursday when the Mortgage Bankers Association announced that a record 12 percent of homeowners with a mortgage are behind on their payments or in foreclosure as the housing crisis spreads to borrowers with good credit.
Source: sgvTribune.com

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