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House Sales Increase 12% in April

TIMES STAFF WRITER

April sales of single-family houses in the San Fernando Valley rose 12% from March but remained 31% below the sales pace of a year earlier, the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors said Monday.

Relatively high prices and a record inventory of 12,501 houses and condominiums listed for sale put downward pressure on sales last month, the board said. Sales also have slowed contrasted with last year’s because of the recent increase in mortgage interest rates. Rates on conventional fixed-rate mortgages have climbed about a full percentage point so far this year and now range from 10.5% to 11.25% in the region.

In April, 824 single-family houses were sold, up from 739 in March but down from 1,202 in April, 1989, the board said. The average house price last month was $303,100, which slipped 1% from $307,100 in March but remained 5% above the $289,700 average price of a year ago.

Sales of condominiums, meanwhile, totaled 338 in April, which was down 1% from the 341 sold in March and 16% below the 402 condominiums sold in April, 1989. The average condominium price was $149,800 last month, down 4% from a record $156,500 in March but 7% above the $140,500 average of a year earlier.

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Despite the soft market, more and more homeowners are putting their properties on the market. The record listing of properties for sale in April was up 7% from 11,682 in March and 53% more than the 8,179 listed a year ago.

“We’ve never seen an influx of new listings like we’re seeing now,” Jim Link, the board’s executive vice president, said in a statement. “It can create the illusion that nothing is selling, but buyers are merely taking their time, picking the best and negotiating until the price fits the property.”

As for the sellers, Link contended that “for the past several months I think we’ve seen owners cling to unrealistic price expectations,” which has contributed to the slower sales pace.

On average, the most expensive part of the region in April was the southwest portion of the Valley, including Canoga Park and Woodland Hills, where the average price of a single-family house was $355,620 and 180 houses were sold.

The strongest region for sales was the southeast portion, which includes Studio City and North Hollywood, where 230 houses were sold at an average price of $302,600.

APRIL VALLEY HOME SALES

NORTH WEST: AVG. PRICE: $340,900. SALES: 34

NORTH EAST: AVG. PRICE: $182,500. SALES: 135

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NORTH CENTRAL: AVG. PRICE: $307,400. SALES: 127

SOUTH WEST: AVG. PRICE: $355,620. SALES: 180

SOUTH EAST: AVG. PRICE: $302,600. SALES: 230

SOUTH CENTRAL: AVG. PRICE: $346,200. SALES: 118

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APRIL VALLEY HOME SALES / Los Angeles Times


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