Unsold Residences Set Record in July


A record number of single-family houses and condominiums went unsold in July, but sales picked up 5% compared to June, the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors said Monday.

The board said 3,332 houses and condominiums were added to the for sale list in the Valley in July, increasing the total number of active listings to 13,973, 2% more than in June, and 35% more than the previous July.

There were some signs that sellers of single-family houses were willing to lower their prices to attract buyers in the glutted market.

Indeed, the average resale price of a single-family house in July fell 5% to $291,800 from $307,800 in June. The average price was 1% lower than a year ago, when the average single-family house sold for $295,800.

Sales volume rose slightly as prices retreated. A total of 790 single-family houses were sold in July, 5% more than the 751 sold in June.

Nevertheless, the pace of sales was 33% slower than last July's, when 1,171 single-family houses changed hands.

Meanwhile, there were no signs that condominium sellers were willing to lower their expectations. The average resale price of a condominium hit a record high of $157,200, rising 1% from $155,600 in June. The average condo resale price marked a 4% increase since July, 1989.

The number of condominiums resold also climbed 4% in July, compared to June--but condo sales volume was 28% lower than a year before.

The board in a statement said a 22% decline in the number of new single-family house listings in July as compared to June was "the first clear-cut signal to date" that homeowners' expectations of high sales prices could be easing.

"A lot of people who weren't serious about selling have changed their minds and are letting listings expire," said Jim Link, executive vice president of the board, in a statement.

Signs of moderation were particularly apparent among more expensive houses. The board said houses in the $500,000 to $750,000 price range sold for an average of 11% less than the original asking price.

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.


NORTH WEST Avg. Price: $352,900 Sales: 22

NORTH CENTRAL Avg. Price: $300,000 Sales: 115

NORTH EAST Avg. Price: $182,200 Sales: 176

SOUTH WEST Avg. Price: $395,300 Sales: 162

SOUTH CENTRAL Avg. Price: $294,700 Sales: 114

SOUTH EAST Avg. Price: $336,500 Sales: 201

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