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VALLEY AND VENTURA COUNTY BUSINESS

Valley Home Sales Increase 4% in April

Real estate: Average sale price drops 3% due to higher demand on lower end of the market. Condo sales rise 24%.

May 13, 1997|BARRY STAVRO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

April sales of single-family homes rose 4% in the San Fernando Valley compared with a year ago, but average sale prices fell 3% in that same period, reflecting the relatively strong demand, but only on the low- and moderate-priced end of the housing market.

A total of 953 single-family homes were sold last month, compared with 914 sales a year ago, according to statistics released Monday by the San Fernando Valley Assn. of Realtors.

Last month, the average Valley home sold for $218,400, compared with $225,500 in April 1996.

But median sale prices rose 3% in April to $163,500, versus $159,000 a year ago. The median price means that half the homes sold last month for more than $163,500, and half sold for less.

Sales in the condominium market are also picking up, although prices continue to fall.

In April, 309 condominiums were sold, up 24% from 250 condo sales a year earlier.

Last month, the average sale price for a condo was $94,300, down 8% from the average price of $102,600 12 months earlier.

But the median condo sale price fell 10% last month to $85,000, compared with $94,000 last year.

Jim Link, the Valley realty group's executive vice president, said the improving housing market is reflected in the smaller number of foreclosed homes being put up for sale.

"Banks holding property for resale no longer are willing to negotiate prices down because of the strong buyer demand," Link said. "They know they will sell."

The Valley realty group pointed out that the number of pending escrows for homes and condos hit 1,458 in April, the best month for this area since August 1988.

However, since house prices peaked in the summer of 1991, the average sale price has tumbled by 30%, and that figure is not adjusted for inflation.

The Valley realty association tracks sales by its 5,800 members from North Hollywood to Calabasas.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

April Valley Home Sales

North East: Avg. Price: $121,600; Sales: 167

South East: Avg. Price: $271,000; Sales: 160

South Central: Avg. Price: $215,500; Sales: 177

South West: Avg. Price: $253,800; Sales: 226

North West: Avg. Price: $215,00; Sales: 225

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