Average Resale Price for Houses Drops 2%

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The average resale price of a single-family house in the San Fernando Valley fell 2% in February, to $293,800 from $298,300 in January, the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors reported Monday.

Prices remained 9% higher than in February, 1989, however, when the average resale price was $270,400.

The pace of sales also fell, with 602 single-family houses sold in February--22% lower than the 770 sold in January and 33% lower than the 902 sold in February, 1989, the board said.

The average resale price of a condominium, meanwhile, fell only slightly to $156,000 in February from its record high of $156,200 in January. The February price is still 18% higher than a year ago, when the average resale price of a condominium was $132,700.

The number of resold condominiums fell 9% in February, to 277 from 304 in January, and the February sales were 8% lower than the 302 units sold a year earlier.

The region's real estate market defied the board's predictions last month that a slowing in the rate of inflation for houses would lead to a revival of the single-family house market.

"Sales activity picked up late in the month," Becky Roberts, board president, said. "But not enough to offset the fact that February was a short month, rainstorms kept people away from listings and negative publicity on the market dampened buyer interest."

Rates on standard 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at area banks and savings and loans remained above 10% on average in February, and that could dampen any comeback in the market.

But Roberts maintained that conditions still made for a buyers' market. "Prospective buyers should look at this as a golden opportunity to find the home they are looking for with the bargaining advantage on their side," she said.

The Valley realty board is California's largest, and it reports on sales of houses and condominiums by its members in the area from North Hollywood to Agoura.

FEBRUARY VALLEY HOME SALES

NORTH EAST: Avg Price: $172,800. Sales: 121

NORTH CENTRAL: Avg Price: $330,400. Sales: 86

NORTH WEST: Avg Price: $323,400. Sales: 25

SOUTH WEST: Avg Price: $342,400. Sales: 127

SOUTH CENTRAL: Avg Price: $295,800. Sales: 87

SOUTHEAST: Avg Price: $322,200. Sales: 156

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