The average price of a single-family house in the San Fernando Valley climbed to a new high in September, the eighth consecutive month a record has been broken, the Valley Board of Realtors reported Monday.
September's average house price was $213,700, up slightly from August's average of $212,900. However, the 1,072 houses sold in September represented a 13% drop from August, when 1,230 houses were sold.
The news was not as good in the Valley condo market, which in recent months has been experiencing a surge in both price and the number of units sold. September's average condo price fell to $114,500, an 8% decrease from August's average of $124,400. The 262 condos sold in September were 15% short of the 309 condos sold in August.
'Just So Little Supply'
But, in the single-family house market, it's survival of the richest. "There is just so little supply," said Temmy Walker, president of James R. Gary & Co. Ltd. East in Studio City and a former Valley Board president. "We're loaded with buyers who would buy at any price if we could find them a house."
Limited supply and a seemingly unlimited demand are driving up prices and driving away some buyers. "Last year, we had clients looking for homes around $200,000, and they couldn't find one they liked," said Walker. "This year, that $200,000 house is $250,000. Now, those clients are looking at homes that were $180,000 last year and are $200,000 this year."
Others have little alternative but to look at condominiums. Whereas condo sales and prices were down in September, the longer-term trend is toward higher prices and more sales, realtors said. Condo sales in September, although down from August, still were 25% higher than a year ago. "September, I think, was a minor blip," Walker said.
The inventory of houses and condos for sale saw a slight increase in September, when 6,130 residences were on the market, up from 6,011 in August. But September's inventory was down 21% from September, 1986, when 7,770 residences were for sale. "Even with mortgage interest rates around 11%," said Board President Steve Raynor, "demand is so heavy that properly priced listings are continuing to sell quickly."
The Valley realty board, California's largest, reports sales of houses and condominiums by its members in the area from North Hollywood to Agoura. Its statistics do not include most new residences, which are generally sold without a real estate agent, or existing homes that are sold by their owners.
SEPTEMBER VALLEY HOME SALES NORTH WEST Avg. Price: $215,200 Sales: 56 NORTH CENTRAL Avg. Price: $204,300 Sales: 170 NORTH EAST Avg. Price: $121,100 Sales: 151 SOUTH WEST Avg. Price: $250,323 Sales: 252 SOUTH CENTRAL Avg. Price: $243,400 Sales: 169 SOUTH EAST Avg. Price: $218,300 Sales: 264 Los Angels Times