Burbank home prices take a jump

Home prices in Burbank continued to surge last month, following a strong February in a months-long rise in prices as a severely limited number of homes for sale has created fierce competition among buyers, according to the latest real estate report.

The median price for a single-family home rose roughly 21% from $471,000 in March 2012 to $571,000 last month, according to statistics compiled by Realtor Eric Benz with Dilbeck Real Estate in Burbank.

The median price for a condominium also increased, from $285,000 a year ago to $347,000 last month, a jump of almost 22%.

Linda Barnes, Realtor with Keller Williams in Burbank, said she expects prices will continue rising as more buyers enter the market for the summer season, when the market usually sees the most activity.

"I think we're going to see [rising prices] for at least a few more months," she said. "Spring into summer is always a time when sales will be at their highest."

Barnes said summer sales are higher because families want to wait for the school year to end before moving.

The number of single-family homes for sale was still drastically lower than last year, with 83 on the market last month, a 51% decrease from 169 in March 2012.

And there were 28 condos for sale, a 69% drop from 91 a year ago.

In addition, Benz said the escalating competition among buyers has led to an increase in homes that sell for more than their listed prices.

Barnes added, however, that although homes are selling above list price, sellers who set their asking price too high initially risk not attracting the multiple offers necessary to drive up the final price.

"If you think because somebody is getting multiple offers you should go higher than that price … you don't get that excitement and people don't come look at it," she said. "It's not the kind of market where you can price your home higher and wait."

The market could be infused with additional housing stock if more distressed properties were put up for sale. However, that doesn't appear to be happening. Nineteen distressed homes sold last month, making up about 22% of total sales — much lower than it's been in the past when distressed sales made about a third of total sales.

Distressed sales include bank-owned properties and short sales, in which lenders let homeowners sell their homes for less than they owe on their mortgages.

"I don't see any giant change coming with that," Barnes said. "I don't think there's going to be any big influx into the market of [bank-owned properties]."


Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

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