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Local Home Prices Dip in October

Ventura County's median drops to $401,000 from $415,000 the month before. But analysts see no broad decline in appreciation.

November 21, 2003|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

This year's relentless climb in Ventura County home prices paused in October, as the median price returned to the low $400,000s after jumping to $415,000 in September.

The median price of a typical Ventura County dwelling -- the amount at which half cost less, half more -- was $401,000 last month, according to DataQuick Information Systems, which tracks sales of new and existing homes and condominiums throughout the state.

While that amount is down for the month, it's up by $70,000, or 21.1%, from October 2002.

The county first broke the $400,000 barrier in July, when it hit $403,000. The next month the median edged up slightly to $404,000.

Total sales reached 1,617 residences last month, up 7.3% from the 1,507 homes sold 12 months earlier. That marks the highest October sales volume since DataQuick began collecting statistics in 1988.

John Karevoll, a DataQuick analyst, said the price dip was explained by the sale of more expensive homes this summer.

"There was a surge of buying high-end new homes in August and September that pushed up the September figure, which was unnaturally high," he said. "There's no broader decline in the appreciation rate."

Karevoll predicts prices will move up slightly in the final months of 2003, but he doesn't think the median will exceed $415,000 until March, when the spring home-buying season is underway.

"It just happened that we had a few more of the lesser-priced homes sell," said Jeff Comstock, president of the Coastal Assn. of Realtors, in explaining the decline. "One month does not a trend make."

Based on several recent deals at his office, on homes priced from $650,000 to $800,000 that are expected to close escrow in January, Comstock is sure prices will soon head up.

His confidence is supported by a limited number of homes on the market, which tends to push up prices.

To illustrate local demand, Comstock tells how a modest 50-year-old, 1,000-square-foot tract home in Oxnard was listed for sale Nov. 13 at $333,333.

Three days later, there were five offers to buy it and four additional offers surfaced by Nov. 18, pushing the sales price to $350,000.

"That's how nuts it is," Comstock said. "And even at these numbers, this would be considered a moderately priced home. If you can find a single-family detached home in good condition in a decent neighborhood, people are lined up to get it."

A closer look at the mix of homes sold last month shows how each category has experienced double-digit price gains compared with last year.

Median prices for existing homes were up 21.4% to $424,750, while previously owned condominiums sold for a median of $287,000, up 19.6%.

The median price of a newly constructed home jumped 17.2% last month to $500,000.

Karevoll said 14,661 homes and condos sold in Ventura County through Oct. 31, about 2% fewer than the 14,962 that sold during the first 10 months of 2002. The analyst expects Ventura County will end 2003 with about 17,700 homes sold, down 75 from last year, and a median price -- based on 12 months of sales -- of $385,000.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Sales since 1988

October home sales in Ventura County since 1988, with median prices and number of sales.

*--* Price Sales 1988 $205,000 1,540

1989 226,000 1,260

1990 213,000 785

1991 215,000 737

1992 205,000 732

1993 208,000 809

1994 186,000 810

1995 190,000 828

1996 190,000 891

1997 200,000 1,115

1998 216,000 1,312

1999 241,000 1,263

2000 258,000 1,196

2001 287,000 1,392

2002 331,000 1,507

2003 401,000 1,617

*--*

Source: DataQuick Information Systems

Los Angeles Times

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October home sales by ZIP Code

Annual sales and median prices for real estate in Ventura County in October compared with the previous year. The figures include new and resale homes and condominiums.

*--* Sales Median prices City ZIP Code 2002 2003 2002 2003 Camarillo 93010 82 68 $350,000 $453,500 93012 70 68 359,500 439,000

Fillmore 93015 19 30 259,000 302,000

Moorpark 93021 78 81 390,000 460,000

Oak Park 91377 43 32 420,000 478,000

Ojai 93023 33 31 373,000 442,000

Oxnard 93030 141 112 335,000 410,000 93033 91 133 215,500 330,000 93035 72 70 312,250 405,000

Port Hueneme 93041 46 58 186,000 276,250

Santa Paula 93060 39 46 227,000 306,000

Simi Valley 93063 95 106 300,000 390,500 93065 161 144 332,500 378,250

Thousand Oaks 91320 89 119 455,000 556,000 91360 69 77 350,000 429,250 91361 28 34 365,500 665,000 91362 81 81 379,000 415,000

Ventura 93001 52 33 290,750 365,000 93003 98 93 315,000 315,000 93004 56 38 386,250 415,000

Countywide 1,507 1,617 331,000 401,000

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Note: Countywide totals include sales with unknown ZIP Codes. Median prices include unincorporated areas not shown.

Source: DataQuick Information Systems Inc.

Los Angeles Times

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