Tight real estate market vexes buyers in the Crescenta Valley

As home prices rise across Southern California, buyers face stiff competition in La Cañada Flintridge and surrounding areas.

Phyllis Harb, with Prudential California Realty in La Cañada, said there is a shortage of homes on the market, which could be a problem for buyers looking for a deal.

"Affordable homes are selling very quickly," she said."Most are selling for well over asking price."

The number of foreclosures and short sales in the city have fallen "dramatically," she added.

But investors and those with equity are pushing first-time homeowners out of the market, Harb said.

The median price of a single-family home in La Cañada rose 44% to $1.36 million in June, according to statistics compiled by Realtor Keith Sorem with Keller Williams Realty in Glendale.

Sixty-six homes were on the market in June, a 12% drop from 75 a year ago, but the number of homes sold rose during the period, from 21 to 31.

In the La Crescenta-Montrose area, 35 single-family homes were on the market last month, a 22% drop from 45 in June 2012, according to Sorem's report. Forty-two homes sold last month, up from 24 a year ago.

The median price of a home in La Crescenta showed healthy growth, climbing from $498,000 in June 2012 to $658,000 last month.

But in Glendale, the median price of a home was $655,000, a slight drop from $680,000 a year ago. The market for condominiums continued to rise, however, as the median price of a condo rose 15% from $280,000 a year ago to $322,000 last month.

Realtor Hamlet Nersesian, an independent Realtor associated with Alajajian Properties in Glendale, said that city is seeing the same trend that's sweeping across Los Angeles County.

"Prices are going up artificially as a result of not enough availability for sale and too much money that comes into the market from all directions," he said, adding that he's still seeing many all-cash transactions.

Housing inventory remains thin in Glendale, too, according to Sorem's report. There were 113 homes on the market last month, a 5% drop from 119 a year ago.

However, in a month-to-month comparison, June's statistic is a sharp increase from May, when there were only 83 Glendale homes for sale.

Nersesian said he expects prices to start leveling out soon, at which point more inventory will come onto the market as sellers try to catch prices at their high point.

"They will want to sell now before … there is another correction [to the market]," he said.


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

Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.


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