L.A. County Home Prices Move Up

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Times Staff Writer

After a summer of flattening prices, the median home price in Los Angeles County edged higher last month to $409,000, a 23% increase over a year ago, data released today showed.

That made October’s median price the second-highest recorded for Los Angeles County in nearly 17 years, according to DataQuick Information Systems, which has been analyzing monthly housing statistics since January 1988.

The county’s median peaked at $414,000 in June.

Since June’s high point, however, the median price increase on a month-to-month basis has been stagnant. During July, August and September, the median hovered at around $407,000.

(The median price is the point at which half of all homes sold for more, half for less.)

Yet October’s performance suggests that the local housing market remains vibrant, said John Karevoll, DataQuick’s chief analyst.

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

Meanwhile, the total number of homes sold fell 17.8% to 9,709 last month, down from 11,805 a year ago, and down 7.5% from September.

Karevoll attributed a large portion of the decline in sales to the fact that October had two fewer business days than the year before. Regardless, sales were above average for the period, in large part because mortgage rates remain at 40-year lows, he said.

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

DataQuick’s home price and sales information for the rest of Southern California will be released in upcoming days.