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VALLEY AND VENTURA COUNTY BUSINESS

November Sales Boost Hopes for Recovery

Real estate: Unit volume and average price are up from last year, but median price slides. Good news, say Realtors, is the jump in repeat buyers.

December 10, 1996|JILL LEOVY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Sales of single-family homes in the San Fernando Valley increased 10% in November and average prices also nudged upward, boosting hopes that next year will bring full recovery to the troubled real estate market.

The market "is poised for further improvements in 1997," said Jim Link, executive vice president of the San Fernando Valley Assn. of Realtors.

But Link added that "problem properties will weigh the market down for many more months."

A total of 858 single-family homes closed escrow in November, up from 781 in the same month last year. That was also 5% ahead of October's 815.

The average selling price of $217,500 was 3.5% higher than last November's average of $210,100.

But November's median price--the point at which half the homes sold for less and half for more--was $135,000, down 13% from last year's $155,000.

Condominiums continued to sell briskly in November, reflecting the fact that it can cost about the same amount to buy a condo as to rent an apartment in the present market, Realtors said.

A total of 262 condominiums changed hands in November, up 31% from November 1995 and 8% higher than the 242 in October.

But the average price of $104,000 was 6% lower than last year's average of $110,600, and the median price of $74,000 was 23% lower than last year's $96,000.

The Valley Realtors' association, the largest in California, reports monthly sales data provided by members from North Hollywood to Calabasas.

In other news, the California Assn. of Realtors, an umbrella group that includes the Valley Realtors, released the results of a survey Monday showing that the time it takes to sell a home in California dropped to an average of eight weeks in 1996 from 11 1/2 weeks in 1995.

The survey also found that 57% of California home buyers in 1996 were repeat buyers, up from 49% last year.

The number is significant because first-time buyers, who typically buy lower-priced homes, have dominated the market until recently.

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