High demand can't keep Burbank home prices up

Median home prices in Burbank fell more than 8% in June despite high demand for the few properties that were on the market, according to the latest real estate figures.

The drop reverses a trend seen in the months prior, in which a scant supply of homes had been fueling bidding wars, driving up the median price.

The median price for a single-family home in Burbank dropped about 8.4% — from $495,000 in July 2011 to $452,413 last month, according to statistics compiled by the Burbank Assn. of Realtors.

The median price for a condo was $315,000 last month, an 11.5% decline from the $356,000 in July 2011.

There were 104 homes for sale last month, a nearly 51% slide from the 213 in July 2011. The inventory for condos didn't decline as much, going from 49 in July 2011 to 31 last month.

At the same time, more single-family homes and condos changed hands.

Forty-nine homes sold last month, compared to 34 in July 2011. Eleven condominiums sold during the same period — a healthy jump from only four in July 2011.

Steven Marx, a broker with Dilbeck Real Estate in Burbank, said housing inventory “is still notoriously tight.”

He added that homes priced up to the $600,000 range still sell quickly, often with multiple offers.

Distressed sales, he added, will continue to make up a healthy portion of the overall market, with short sales — where lenders let homeowners sell their property for less than they owe on their mortgage — on the upswing.

One reason is that banks are decreasing the time needed to process them.

“They're becoming a little more efficient,” said Marx, who is on the board of directors for the Burbank Assn. of Realtors.

Marx estimated that about 13% of properties currently sold in Burbank are short sales.

Statistics show that distressed sales, which include bank-owned homes, made up about 32.5% of total sales last month.

Marx also said investors willing to pay cash make up about 24% of all buyers.

Rather than “flipping” properties for a higher ressale price, though, they are holding on to them as rentals, suppressing the number of houses for sale and driving up rental fees.

While the median prices for single-family homes and condos decreased last month, Marx said he thinks the local market will see an improvement year-over-year at the end of 2012.

Follow Mark on Twitter @LAMarkKellam

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