L.A. County luxury home prices make up some lost ground in 2011

In a battle of the beach cities, Hermosa Beach was the big winner last year where median home prices were concerned and Malibu the biggest loser.

But first appearances can be deceiving. Los Angeles County luxury communities that showed the most price gains last year were largely just regaining previously lost ground.

Hermosa Beach 90254 was the big gainer with prices up 15.8% to a median of $1.1 million among ZIP Codes with medians above $1 million and where at least 50 existing single-family homes sold, according to DataQuick statistics. But the increase barely offset the previous year drop-off when prices lost 15.4%.

The 90077 L.A./Bel-Air ZIP had a 14.3% price increase from 2010 to 2011, but it came off a 10.5% loss in the 2009-to-2010 tally. The 147 recorded sales included the $85-million Spelling mansion mega-deal, which claimed the highest-priced-sale mark for Southern California.

Also on the plus side was West Hollywood 90069, up 8.4% year over year. That median had been down 10.4% in 2010.

Beverly Hills 90210 prices were up 7.3% compared with a 1.7% drop the year before. But the median at the end of 2009 had been down 17.2%.

Rounding out the top five gainers in 2011 was the Palos Verdes Peninsula 90274 ZIP Code, which was up 4.2% on top of a 1.6% gain in 2010. The area experienced a 15.8% price drop in 2009.

Among communities with the greatest median price drops last year, Malibu 90265 saw a year-over-year dip of 21% to $1.65 million. Calendar year 2010 had seen a price gain of 2% from 2009, to a $2.04 million median.

Santa Monica's 90402 ZIP Code saw 110 existing home sales at a median of $2.141 million — an 8.5% price drop. Although nearly unchanged in 2010, the 2009 median had experienced a 13.7% drop.

Pacific Palisades 90272 took a 7.8% median price hit last year. It was the third consecutive year the median fell there.

The San Marino 91108 median dropped 7.2%, erasing price gains from the two previous years.

Manhattan Beach 90266 fell 4.9%, having seen a median price gain of 9.1% in 2010 following a 14.1% decline in 2009.


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