Record Prices Put ’88 at Decade High for Housing Sales

Times Staff Writer

Both single-family houses and condominiums climbed to new record average prices in December as 1988 closed out as the best year of the decade for residential real estate sales, according to the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors.

In December, the average price of a single-family house was $280,200, up 5% from November’s figure and 27% higher than the December, 1987, average price of $221,100. The previous record was $268,900 in October.

The average price for condominiums inched up to $134,900 in December, an increase of less than 1% from November but it marks a 12% jump since December, 1987, when the average condominium price was $120,100.

For all of 1988, the average price for a single-family house was $248,492, setting another record and up 22% from the 1987 average of $203,433. In all, 15,263 houses were sold last year, a 15% increase from the 13,334 houses sold in 1987. The southeast area of the Valley was the hottest housing market, accounting for 25% of all houses sold during 1988.


Condo Increases

Meanwhile, condominium prices for the full year climbed a more modest 6%, with an average price of $127,017, compared to $119,733 in 1987. A total of 4,510 condominiums were sold last year, up 42% from 1987. Again, the southeast was the busiest sales area, accounting for 28% of those condominiums sold in 1988.

It all added up to a record $4.4 billion worth of residential sales last year with a total of 19,714 houses and condominiums sold. It was the greatest number of sales in any year this decade, topped only by the 19,964 sales in 1979.

Jim Link, the board’s executive vice president, attributed the feverish climb in prices to the many homeowners who listed their homes for sale in hopes of trading up to bigger and better ones. Relatively low interest rates also helped fuel the sales increases.

Certainly, anyone who has owned a house in the area for several years is likely to be sitting on a sizable appreciation in the value of their property. Put another way, the $280,200 average single-family house price in December, 1988, marks an 87% jump from the December, 1984, average of $150,000.

The Valley realty board, California’s largest, reports sales of houses and condominiums by its members in the area from North Hollywood to Agoura. Its statistics do not include most new residences, which are generally sold without a real estate agent, or existing houses that are resold by their owners.

North West:

Avg. Price: $284,200

Sales: 50

North Central:

Avg. Price: $332,600

Sales: 145

North East:

Avg. Price: $154,900

Sales: 183

South West:

Avg. Price: $317,178

Sales: 218

South Central:

Avg. Price: $324,200

Sales: 163

South East:

Avg. Price: $280,000

Sales: 274