Median Price of Homes in Valley Drops 3% in August : Real estate: The figure for single-family houses falls to $169,000, down $6,000 from last year. But a jump in sales brightens the outlook.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The median price of a single-family home dropped once more in the San Fernando Valley in August, even as sales picked up.

The median price--the point at which half the homes sold for less and half sold for more--was $169,000, down 3% from $175,000 in August, 1994, according to the San Fernando Valley Assn. of Realtors.

The average resale price of a single-family home was $213,700, down 11% from $241,300 last year. The August average price was also 2% lower than the July figure of $218,600.

For all residential realty, including condominiums, the average resale price was $197,700, down 14% from $230,300 in August, 1994.

At the same time, the number of sales climbed, reaching the highest level in more than a year. A total of 1,008 single-family homes closed escrow in August, a 4% increase from 972 in August last year.

The increased sales signal a lively market for homes for first-time buyers, said local realty association officials. But "we are still waiting for a revival of the trade-up market," said the association's executive vice president, Jim Link, in a written statement.

Association President Pat A. Zicarelli said that despite the continued downward slide in prices, increased sales reflect better economic conditions throughout the region: "Job growth in Southern California is once again gaining," he said. "There is no doubt that resale prices remain soft and that some sales are still earthquake- or recession-related. However the August numbers suggest that the window of opportunity . . . is clearly starting to close."

Condominiums continued to sell briskly in August, even as average prices dipped. A total of 172 condominiums closed escrow in August, up 35% from 127 sold a year ago. The average price, though, fell 16% to $103,800 from $123,600. The median price was $98,000, down 15% from $115,000 a year ago.

The Valley realty association, the largest in California, reports housing sales by its 7,200 members from North Hollywood to Calabasas. The figures do not include sales of new residences.

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August Valley Home Sales

* NORTH CENTRAL

Average Price: $210,600

Sales: 167

* NORTH EAST

Average Price: $132,300

Sales: 161

* SOUTH EAST

Average Price: $203,600

Sales: 228

* SOUTH CENTRAL

Average Price: $228,900

Sales: 137

* SOUTH WEST

Average Price: $253,900

Sales: 169

* NORTH WEST

Average Price: $222,000

Sales: 54

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