The average price of existing single-family homes in the San Fernando Valley surged to $184,700 in March, up .7% from February and 16% from a year ago, the Valley Board of Realtors reported.
Condominium prices, long depressed, also jumped. The average existing condo sold for $113,600, up 1.2% from February and 5.5% for the 12-month period.
The board also said the number of homes and condos sold was up 8.5% from a year ago, but the rate of increase has tailed off in recent months. In February, it was 14.9%, in January it was 13.9%, and, in December, it was a record 47%.
"Sales normally increase every month from January through at least midyear," said board president Steve Raynor. "It's unusual to see a slight moderation this early."
He attributed the slower sales growth to a shortage of single-family homes on the market and said the rate of new listings with realtors last month sank to the lowest level in a decade.
As a result, the total inventory also slumped. The inventory of single-family homes, for example, was 4,764, off 15% from a year ago, and virtually unchanged from February. Realtors nevertheless sold 1,157 single-family homes in March, up 17% from a year ago and 28% from February.
Condo sales were up even more strongly. Realtors sold 277 Valley condos in March, up 81% from a year ago and 69% from February. In March, 1985, realtors sold only 145 condos.
The increased demand for condos has brought more sellers to market. The inventory of condos listed for sale with realtors reached 1,867, up 8.4% from March of 1986.
Real estate experts attributed the Valley's strong residential market mainly to low interest rates. Also, because there is relatively little land available, fewer new homes are being built.
The Valley realty board, California's largest, reports sales of houses and condos by its members from North Hollywood to Agoura. Its figures exclude most new dwellings and all residential properties sold by their owners without realtors.
MARCH VALLEY HOME SALES
NORTH WEST Avg. Price: $192,300 Sales: 58
NORTH CENTRAL Avg. Price: $195,400 Sales: 191
NORTH EAST Avg. Price: $117,500 Sales: 212
SOUTH WEST Avg. Price: $201,635 Sales: 241
SOUTH CENTRAL Avg. Price: $195,900 Sales: 160
SOUTH EAST Avg. Price: $204,700 Sales: 295