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Home Prices in L.A. County See Slight Increase

Times Staff Writer

After a flat summer, the median home price in Los Angeles County edged slightly higher in October to $409,000, data released Thursday showed.

It was the second-highest median price in L.A. County in nearly 17 years, DataQuick Information Systems said. The median -- the point at which half of all homes and condominiums sold for more and half for less -- peaked at $414,000 in June.

Since that high point, the median increase on a month-to-month basis has leveled off. In July, August and September, the median was about $407,000.

October’s performance, although only a 0.5% increase from September, is a 23% run-up from a year earlier, suggesting that the local housing market remains vibrant, said John Karevoll, chief analyst at DataQuick.

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“Most of the models we’re seeing still show high demand,” he said. “There are still more buyers out there than sellers.”

The total number of homes sold in October fell to 9,709, down 17.8% from a year ago and down 7.5% from September. The median price of a resale house rose 24% from a year ago to $425,000, but was flat from the month before as sales fell 15%.

In the condo market, the median rose 23% to $330,000, while sales fell 21%. New homes rose 15% to a median $464,500, while sales fell 33%, DataQuick said.

Karevoll attributed a large portion of the sales decline to the fact that October had two fewer business days than the year before. Regardless, sales still were above average for the period, mostly because mortgage rates remained low, he said.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter-point. Many market analysts believe that long-term rates -- such as those tied to home mortgages -- will start moving higher as well.

Despite low mortgage rates, the percentage of state households able to afford a median-priced home was 19% in September, a 5-percentage-point decrease from a year ago, the California Assn. of Realtors said. In Los Angeles, the affordability index was 17% in September.


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