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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Real Estate Activity Remains Hot in August

Housing: Sales are off July levels but 15% above last year. County's median price hits an eight-year high. Classes for would-be agents are packed.

September 17, 1998|JASON TAKENOUCHI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Ventura County's housing market slowed its record-setting pace in August but still managed to break new ground, registering the highest median price since April 1990 and a 15% jump in total sales over last year.

The market has also renewed interest in the real estate profession, analysts say, triggering an increase in the number of local Realtors and training classes.

"More people are getting into the business," said Bob Seitz, chief executive of the Ventura County Coastal Assn. of Realtors, which represents real estate professionals in six cities west of the Conejo Grade. "It's indicative of the fact that things are starting to turn around."

The market, which has experienced a dramatic upswing this year, continued its growth in August, according to a report released Wednesday by real estate research firm Acxiom/DataQuick.

The median price for condominiums, resale houses and new houses rose to $225,000 in August, a $1,000 increase over the previous month and $17,000, or 8.2%, more than August 1997, the report said.

The county registered 1,387 sales in August, the report said. While far below July's record-breaking 1,662 sales, last month's totals topped August 1997 sales by 181 homes, or 15%.

The boom in prices and sales is driven by low interest rates, rapid economic growth and a growing shortage of homes in the county. Although most analysts expect a slowdown in September as schools open, few anticipate a drop in prices in the near future.

In west Simi Valley, sweltering temperatures did little to slow a red-hot market, with total sales jumping 126% and the median home price up 25%.

In Port Hueneme, where new housing construction is virtually nonexistent, the median home price grew $16,000, or 13.7%, last month over August 1997. Home sales increased by 53% over the same period.

"We have very little inventory. Too little," said Maria Zendejas, a sales associate at ReMax Gold Coast Realtors in Port Hueneme. "We have properties that go on the market and it takes two or three days to sell."

Zendejas, who has worked in the industry since 1991, may soon be a veteran in the local real estate market. According to Seitz of the Realtors association, 136 Realtors have joined the association's ranks since January--a 14% increase.

High demand also prompted the association to start classes last month for people interested in entering the business. The second two-week session began with a full class Monday, drawing 27 would-be real estate agents.

"It's actually a little overbooked for the facilities we have here," Seitz said, adding that the next course may need a bigger building.

Real estate job rolls will continue to climb as the market booms, and the market is showing no signs of letting up, Seitz said.

"We don't see any indicators out there that anything is going to drastically change from what we experienced in the first eight months of the year," he said.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Ventura County House Sales

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August 1997 August 1998 Number Median Number Median City/ZIP Code of sales price of sales price CAMARILLO 93010 88 $231,000 98 $211,000 93012 74 $201,000 71 $220,000 FILLMORE 93015 8 $158,000 8 $138,000 MOORPARK 93021 75 $272,000 72 $243,000 OAK PARK 91301 36 $246,000 41 $339,000 OAK VIEW 93022 12 $175,000 10 $200,000 OJAI 93023 28 $239,000 27 $214,000 OXNARD 93030 102 $180,000 86 $181,000 93033 42 $136,000 47 $145,000 93035 47 $194,000 49 $196,000 PORT HUENEME 93041 30 $117,000 46 $133,000 SANTA PAULA 93060 27 $143,000 20 $169,000 SIMI VALLEY 93063 81 $174,000 84 $194,000 93065 99 $220,000 224 $275,000 THOUSAND OAKS 91320 88 $234,000 79 $238,000 91360 95 $234,000 100 $238,000 91361 41 $290,000 40 $340,000 91362 97 $304,000 129 $325,000 VENTURA 93001 36 $163,000 40 $171,000 93003 61 $185,000 71 $179,000 93004 39 $188,000 45 $197,000 COUNTY LINE / CANYON AREA 90265 -- -- 2 $199,500 COUNTYWIDE 1,206 $208,000 1,387 $225,000

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Source: Acxiom / DataQuick Information Systems

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