Inventory of unsold homes grows

More Glendale and Burbank homes are for sale this year as the well of potential buyers continues to dry up.

In August, 332 Glendale homes were on the market, 43% more than in same period last year. In Burbank, 246 homes were on the market, 69% more than last year, according to report compiled by Keller William real estate agent Keith Sorem.

"Not only do we have more inventory, it is taking longer to sell homes," Sorem said.

Real estate professionals say prices will continue to soften, especially in wealthier communities. High unemployment, economic uncertainty lingers and strict borrowing rules haven't helped matters, experts said.

"We don't have a ton of market stability because the economic fundamentals are still weak -— namely the labor market," said Paul Habibi, a real estate professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. "Some of the better communities are showing more signs of weakness than other areas."

Sorem's figures show the average price of a Glendale sale is up from $561,000 last year to $572,000 today; in Burbank it climbed from $503,000 to $561,000. In La Cañada Flintridge, the average sale price has jumped from $1.08 million to $1.3 million, according to the report.

But in La Crescenta, it has dropped from $602,000 to $564,000. Realtors say the price figures may be weighted one way or the other by a handful of extremely high or low transactions, especially in the smaller communities.

More telling, Sorem said, is that the number of new listings are on the rise everywhere but La Cañada, extending the buyer's market that began with the financial crash in late 2007.

Common reasons for selling include relocation, death in the family or divorce, but financial straits are d increasingly riving sales, Sorem said.

"Anyone who is entering the market now is doing it because they need to sell," he said.

Meanwhile, buyers know the trends are breaking their way, said Judi Schlegel, an agent with ReMax Tri-City in La Cañada.

"A lot have a wait-and-see attitude. If they negotiated and the deal doesn't happen, they are going to wait it out," she said.

The lower end of the market remains a "feeding frenzy," with multiple offers from cash investors and first-time buyers who qualified for loans, Sorem said.

But with banks holding large inventories of so-called distressed homes and the job market in a painstakingly slow recovery, agents say they don't see swift recovery around the bend.

"My crystal ball is broken," Sorem said. "It's in the shop."


Homes for sale

August 2009August 2010% change



La Cañada Flintridge81810%

La Crescenta/Montrose6512186%

Source: Keller Williams Real Estate Services

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