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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

March Home Sales Up 25% From Same Time Period Year Ago

April 17, 1999|COLL METCALFE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bolstered by continued economic confidence and low mortgage rates, Ventura County home buyers continued plucking properties off the market in March, with sales increasing 25% over the same period a year before, according to a report released Friday.

Last month 1,351 homes were sold in the area, up from 1,083 in March 1998. The median price also jumped by more than 13% last month to $239,000, putting it close to the record high of $241,000 set in March 1989.

"The numbers are a bit stronger than even we expected," said John Karevoll, an analyst with Acxiom/DataQuick, which prepared the report. "We thought we'd be seeing prices in the $230,000 range, but nothing really this high and the sales were really quite strong right through the month."

The report, which includes new and resale homes as well as condominiums, showed dramatic sales jumps in a number of county communities.

Sales for homes in Thousand Oaks' 91320 ZIP Code increased almost 61% from the year before, after 119 homes were sold. The median home price in the area also increased 21% to $302,000.

Sales in Simi Valley's 93065 ZIP Code increased by more than 88% last month with the median price climbing 27% to $254,000.

In the west part of the county, sales were also strong.

Sales jumped by more than 50% in Ventura's 93003 ZIP Code during a period when 88 homes were purchased.

The market was also frenzied in Camarillo's 93010 ZIP Code, with the sale of 117 homes in March, up 69% from the same time a year ago.

Although March's median price level may worry some, Karevoll said it was nothing more than an aberrant spike.

He said most of the homes sold in Ventura County last month were high-end new homes, such as those in the Dos Vientos and Lang Ranch developments, which skewed the median price.

"It's been tugged up by these new homes, so you have to be careful when you're looking at that number," he said. "I'd expect it to return to more normal levels next month, kind of the way they did after that jump in 1989."

Following March 1989, the median price of homes in the area dropped to about $227,000. Karevoll said he expected the price to hover this month at the $225,000 to $230,000 range.

According to Kathy Mehringer, vice president of Fred Sands Brown Realty in Westlake Village, there is still a lot of pent-up demand for homes in the county, which is helping to keep the market strong.

"Inventory is still not really where it should be, so there's still quite a bit of demand," she said.

Although economists had predicted a slowing of the local economy this year, so far there have been none of the telltale signs.

Unemployment is still low. Companies are continuing to relocate to and expand in the county. Local businesses are still reaping large profits and the housing market has showed no sign of losing steam.

In the coming months, Karevoll said, he expected the market to perform pretty close to where it's been performing for the past two years.

"The market's got a lot of good legs to stand on," he said. "There's nothing in the mix that I can see right now that's going to change the market in any dramatic ways."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Ventura County House Sales

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March 1998 March 1999 Number Median Number Median City/ZIP Code of sales price of sales price CAMARILLO 93010 69 $222,000 117 $231,000 93012 63 $216,000 47 $277,000 FILLMORE 93015 14 $165,000 11 $176,000 MOORPARK 93021 69 $219,000 60 $246,000 OAK PARK 91301 40 $283,000 28 $252,000 OAK VIEW 93022 NA NA 19 $200,000 OJAI 93023 23 $207,000 31 $203,000 OXNARD 93030 71 $171,000 83 $205,000 93033 40 $133,000 42 $145,000 93035 48 $203,000 54 $231,000 PORT HUENEME 93041 28 $117,000 31 $123,000 SANTA PAULA 93060 24 $151,000 28 $155,000 SIMI VALLEY 93063 75 $189,000 119 $259,000 93065 126 $200,000 238 $254,000 THOUSAND OAKS 91320 74 $250,000 119 $302,000 91360 67 $232,000 67 $244,000 91361 35 $345,000 34 $342,000 91362 75 $333,000 79 $329,000 VENTURA 93001 39 $180,000 39 $184,000 93003 58 $188,000 88 $203,000 93004 41 $176,000 44 $221,000 COUNTY LINE / CANYON AREA 90265 -- -- 2 $199,500 COUNTYWIDE *1,083 $211,000 1,351 $239,000

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Source: Acxiom / DataQuick Information Systems

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