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Median L.A. County Home Price Rises 9.9%

June 12, 1998|JESUS SANCHEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Los Angeles County housing market continued to pick up steam in May, with the median price for all homes rising 9.9% to $189,000 in the strongest year-over-year gain of the decade, a real estate research firm reported Thursday.

The county's housing results so far this year have exceeded analyst's expectations as a robust economy, high consumer confidence and low mortgage rates have fueled demand for housing.

"There is nothing that indicates that [sales and prices] are going to level off right now," said John Karevoll, an analyst with Acxiom/DataQuick Information Systems, which compiles the monthly housing figures. The market "is definitely gaining momentum."

The median sales price for existing single-family homes showed a particularly impressive year-over-year gain of 11.4% to $195,000, according to Acxiom/DataQuick.

The number of all homes--including condominiums--sold in Los Angeles County during May rose 9.7%, to 9,387 properties, from the same month last year.

Los Angeles' housing results are catching up with those of Orange County, which has emerged as Southern California's real estate powerhouse. For May, Orange County's median sales price reached an all-time high of $226,000 as monthly sales jumped 26%.

In Ventura County, the median price for all homes sold in May rose 6.5% to $213,000, and the number of properties sold surged 22.6% on a year-over-year basis.

Real estate agents said they have seen the demand, which had been concentrated primarily in affluent beach-side communities, spread to surrounding areas.

Los Angeles real estate broker Fred Sands said demand has spiked in such neighborhoods as Palms and Mar Vista. In the San Fernando Valley, which had lagged other parts of Los Angeles, strong demand and a shrinking inventory of foreclosure sales have helped boost prices across much of the area. "The Valley was slower to come back than the Westside but prices are now moving up very well," Sands said.

"The market is at good as it gets," he said. "It would take a natural disaster or war to affect it."

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