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October Home Sales Up 4% From '95

Real estate: The average price of Valley houses sold is down 5% from a year earlier. Condo purchases are up 41%.


Sales of single-family houses in the San Fernando Valley rose 4% in October from a year earlier, but the average price of homes sold fell 5%.

A total of 815 houses changed hands last month, compared with 785 in October 1995, according to data collected by the San Fernando Valley Assn. of Realtors.

Last month's sales fell 5% short of September, when 859 houses closed escrow.

But John Maquar, president of the realty group, said that housing sales typically taper off as the holidays approach. This October's market activity was stronger than expected, he said.

Maquar now expects the number of Valley homes sold for all of this year to be about 10% to 15% higher than in 1995 and with the highest annual sales total since 1989--the last year before the region's housing boom turned to bust.

Housing prices, however, have yet to show a clear pattern of rebounding.

The average price of a house sold in the Valley in October was $213,300. That was 2% higher than September's average price of $208,300 but 5% below the $225,300 average a year earlier.

Maquar believes the decline from October 1995 is indicative of the greater number of sales that are occurring at the low end of the price spectrum, rather than a sign that prices are continuing to fall.

"We generally think that listing and sales prices are in line with today's market demand," he said.

Association officials also said they were pleased with October's condominium sales. Although last month's 242 condo sales were down 4% from September's 253, the October total was 41% higher than a year ago.

Jim Link, executive vice president of the realty group, attributed the overall strengthening of that market to the relatively low cost of condominiums, which is now comparable in some cases to the monthly payment of renting an apartment.

The average price of a condominium sold in October was $94,400, down 19% from a year earlier.

The Valley realty group is a trade association composed of 6,800 members from North Hollywood to Calabasas. Its sales figures include mostly previously owned properties.


October Valley Home Sales

North West

Avg. Price: $189,100

Sales: 182


South West

Avg. Price: $254,800

Sales: 183


South Central

Avg. Price: $214,500

Sales: 181


South East

Avg. Price: $251,300

Sales: 134


North East

Avg. Price: $127, 600

Sales: 118

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