Housing inventory and median prices continued to rise last month compared to a year earlier. However, homes sales dropped in Glendale, while they continued to climb in La Cañada Flintridge and the La Crescenta-Montrose area.
There were 83 single-family homes on the market last month, up by more than 18% from 70 in January 2013, according to statistics compiled by Realtor Keith Sorem with Keller Williams Realty in Glendale.
Condominiums saw a 59% jump, going from 27 for sale in January 2013 to 43 last month.
While this is the second consecutive month that there's been a rise in housing inventory in the Glendale area, that's not the case throughout Los Angeles County, which continues to experience a squeeze on the number of homes for sale, said Paul Habibi, real estate professor with the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
He said basically two factors are keeping inventory tight.
First, there's a lack of land in the county where new homes can be built. Second, potential home sellers are watching rising median prices, which recorded a dramatic 20% year-over-year increase last year. They're wanting to see if there's a similar spike this year, even if it's a more modest 15%.
"When potential sellers are seeing the market improve, they like to hang tight," Habibi said.
However, he doesn't see another surge happening. Instead, he predicts more like 6% to 8% price increases for the next two to three years.
The median price for a single-family home in Glendale rose from $630,000 in January 2013 to $750,000 last year, according to Sorem's statistics. The median price for a condo was $309,000 last month, up from $270,000.
Habibi said another factor thinning the housing inventory is tied to potential buyers who have become more affluent in recent years and would like to purchase bigger, more expensive homes.
"The move-up buyer doesn't have a lot of options," Habibi said, because, again, the number of homes for sale remains low.
Looking at sales, the numbers of homes and condos sold declined last month.
Transactions closed on 37 homes last month, down 14% from 43 in January 2013. There were 16 condos sold last month, a more than 38% drop from 26 a year prior.
In the La Crescenta-Montrose area, the number of homes for sale jumped from 15 in January 2013 to 24 last month. Condos also saw a slight increase, going from three sold a year ago to five last month.
There were 15 homes sold in January 2013, up from 11 last month, and five condos sold, an uptick from three the same time a year ago.
The median price for a home rose from $511,000 in January 2013 to $610,000 last month, and the median for a condo edged up by $10,000 to $430,000 last month.
In La Cañada Flintridge, the number of homes for sale eked up by one to 28 last month. The number of homes sold showed a healthy gain from seven in January 2013 to 16 last month.
The median price for a home shot up from $1.19 million to $1.48 million in a year-to-year comparison.
Habibi sales of high-end homes priced over $5 million are "on fire." While there may not be many of them on the market, the ones that are for sale are fetching "egregiously high" prices, he said.
"It's the widening gap of the haves and have-nots," he added.
Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam.