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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

August Home Sales Rebound; Median Climbs

Real estate: Less-drastic decrease of 7.5% makes up for double-digit July drop-off. Midpoint price hits $251,000, a 5.5% increase over a year ago.

September 16, 2000|KATIE COOPER and MARGARET TALEV | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Home sales in August recovered from a sharp midsummer drop, returning to the slower declines seen across Ventura County this year caused by a shortage in inventory.

At the same time, prices continued to rise, reflecting a trend seen in the rest of Southern California.

Sales in the county fell 7.5% compared with August a year ago, while the median price was up 5.5% during the same period to $251,000, close to the record in the county.

The figures reflected a rebound from July, when sales tumbled 23.1%.

Analysts said the supply of new and existing homes remained low, causing the dip in sales.

"If you have an attractive home that is priced right, it goes in a New York minute," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. "The market is so tight."

Last month, 1,380 homes sold in the county, down from 1,492 in August 1999, according to a report released Friday by the La Jolla-based research firm Acxiom/DataQuick. The sales figures include new and resale homes as well as condominiums. The median is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

The rebound should calm fears that the market was slowing down, analysts said.

"The blip we had in July doesn't mean anything," said John Karevoll, an analyst at Acxiom/DataQuick. "The counts went down and everybody thought this might mean the turning point, that perhaps this is when buyers were just going to start walking away from properties. But buyers are back in the market right now."

And while home sales have been down since the first of the year, prices have continued to climb. That is good news for the local real estate market, said Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast Project.

"We thought August was going to come in horrendously bad," Schniepp said. "They're not at the highest levels, but they don't indicate at all that there's any pullback in the market. It's quite robust."

In other parts of Southern California, home sellers are seeing an even stronger market, with sales prices hitting record highs. In Orange County, median prices surged by 14% in August. In Los Angeles County, the median sale price rose by more than 7%.

In Ventura County, sales appeared to have reached a plateau in some exclusive neighborhoods in Thousand Oaks, because prices are so high, Schniepp said.

Heather Simms, a real estate agent at the Westlake Village Coldwell Banker office, agreed that activity in Thousand Oaks has slowed for the time being.

"I think the public is becoming more discerning, and I think the feeding frenzy is easing slightly," Simms said. "The homes are selling quickly, but people are no longer fighting for them."

Sales there dropped 24.8% in August.

Simi Valley, Oxnard, Ventura and Port Hueneme were the only cities to see sales rise, with Port Hueneme posting the largest increase at 57.1%. Sales in the unincorporated area of Oak Park also climbed 7%.

Joy-el Smith, a real estate agent with Century 21, said four condominium projects on the beach were selling well and were one of the likely explanations behind the jump.

Other factors might have an effect on the area's sales, she said.

"People go to Thousand Oaks and it's too hot and too expensive," Smith said. "But then they come up to Port Hueneme and they find that nice little ocean breeze. It sure is pleasant."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Ventura County House Sales

CAMARILLO

*--*

August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 93010 90 $248,250 67 $267,000 93012 99 $257,500 60 $247,750

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*

FILLMORE

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August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 93015 16 $152,000 11 $165,000

*--*

*

MOORPARK

*--*

August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 93021 71 $220,000 69 $270,000

*--*

*

OAK PARK

*--*

August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 91377 43 $322,000 46 $272,250

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*

OAK VIEW

*--*

August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 93022 18 $188,250 10 $236,500

*--*

*

OJAI

*--*

August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 93023 40 $250,000 24 $360,000

*--*

*

OXNARD

*--*

August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 93030 99 $190,000 87 $225,000 93033 53 $155,000 60 $184,000 93035 56 $247,000 57 $250,000

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*

PORT HUENEME

*--*

August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 93041 42 $146,000 66 $166,000

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*

SANTA PAULA

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August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 93060 38 $162,000 22 $197,000

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SIMI VALLEY

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August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 93063 124 $219,250 164 $267,500 93065 202 $230,500 138 $237,750

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*

THOUSAND OAKS

*--*

August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 91320 125 $292,250 94 $333,500 91360 94 $277,500 78 $285,500 91361 31 $415,000 31 $393,500 91362 109 $35,000 79 $365,000

*--*

*

VENTURA

*--*

August 1999 August 2000 Number Median Number Median City / ZIP Code of sales price of sales price 93001 45 $155,000 46 $250,250 93003 101 $218,500 103 $239,000 93004 32 $229,750 43 $260,000 COUNTYWIDE 1,492 $238,000 1,380 $251,000

*--*

Source: Acxiom / DataQuick Information Systems

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