Sales of existing single-family houses and condominiums in June fell for the first time in three months, sliding 12% from May, according to figures released Monday by the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors.
In a further sign that the local housing market remains in a slump after more than a year, the board also reported that the inventory of unsold homes last month reached near-record levels. During June, 13,927 residential properties in the Valley were listed for sale, the third highest tally in the board's 71 years of record keeping, behind July and August of 1990, when a respective 13,973 and 14,126 homes were listed.
Despite relatively low interest rates, the real estate market, like many industries, remains sluggish because of the nationwide recession.
At the June sales pace, it would take more than a year to deplete the current stock of homes for sale, said Steve Owen, president of the board.
Owen said the large inventory of unsold homes reflects sellers' reluctance to lower their prices in what remains a sluggish market. "Even though the market has improved," Owen said, "what worked just two years ago doesn't work today, especially with nearly 14,000 unsold properties."
Single-family house sales, at 879 in June, were down 12% from May. The average price, however, was virtually even with May at $299,300.
Condo sales--which have generally been selling better because they are more affordable, the board said--also fell 12% in June, to 280. Despite the drop, condo prices continued rising to a record average price of $160,000, up 4% from May, the board said.
A total of 1,159 single-family houses and condos sold last month, 158 less than in May, the board reported. The sales decline was the first in three months, although it was 12% higher than June, 1990, when 1,038 houses and condos were sold.
"Activity in the lower price ranges continues to drive the recovery of the resale housing market," said Jim Link, the board's executive vice president. "Sales are slower as you move up the price ladder because buyers are cautious and concerned about the economy and their jobs."
Of the total properties listed for sale in the Valley in June, 11,113 were single-family houses and 2,814 were condos.
The Valley realty board, the largest in California, reports housing sales by its members in the area from Agoura to North Hollywood. Its statistics do not include sales of most new residences.
June Valley House Sales Northwest Avg. Price: $253,400 Sales: 34 North Central Avg. Price: $290,600 Sales: 150 North East Avg. Price: $184,400 Sales: 140 South West Avg. Price: $339,000 Sales: 226 South Central Avg. Price: $365,500 Sales: 106 South East Avg. Price: $317,100 Sales: 223