most March sales in 14 years, new price record – Daily News

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Los Angeles County housing’s selling spree continued in March with sales 34% above last year’s lockdown period as prices rose 17.2% to a new high.

The buying binge came as vaccinations helped lower coronavirus risks and trimmed the pandemic’s broad economic challenges. Interest rates remained low and the limited inventory of homes to buy made life difficult for house hunters seeking new or larger living spaces. DQNews/CoreLogic’s report on closed transactions in Los Angeles County from March shows …

Sales: 7,618 homes sold, existing and new — up 34% in a year. It was 2007 when a March had more sales. Last month was 19% above the 10-year average pace for a March.

Past 12 months? 75,055 Los Angeles County purchases — up 1.4% above the previous 12 months  but 3.3% off the 10-year average.

Prices: The countywide median of $750,000 median was up $110,000 or 17.2% — over 12 months. Over 10 years, gains averaged 8.4% annually. The latest median breaks the record of $715,000 from October. In the past 12 months, six records were set.

And prices since the Great Recession? Up 36% vs. the 2000’s bubble-era high.

Here’s a look into key slices of the Los Angeles market in March …

Existing single-family houses: 5,026 sold, up 29.9% in a year. Median of $825,000 — a 21.3% increase over 12 months.

Existing condos: 2,194 sales, up 40% over 12 months. Median of $601,000 — a 11.3% increase in a year.

Newly built: Builders sold 398 new homes, up 58% in a year. Median of $821,000 — a 17.8% increase over 12 months.

Builder share: 5.2% of sales vs. 4.4% a year earlier. Los Angeles County builders’ slice of the market ranks No. 5 among SoCal’s six counties.

Price rank: How Los Angeles County’s median compared to Southern California’s five other counties: No. 2 overall; No. 2 for single-family resales; No. 1 for condo resales; and No. 2 for new homes.

How cheap is money? Rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.88% in the three months ending in March vs. 3.51% a year earlier. That translates to 8% more buying power for house hunters.

At these rates, a buyer with 20% down would pay $2,490 a month on the $750,000 median sale vs. $2,303 on last year’s $640,000 median. So during the past year, the typical house payment is 8.1% pricier.

How thin is supply? The region had 36,241 homes listed for sale as of February, compared with 49,000 a year earlier, according to Zillow.

So is this market risk free? No, despite what many industry cheerleaders might say. Soaring prices raise serious “affordability” concerns.

Around Southern California, according to DQNews’ latest report on closed sales in …

Six-county region: 24,885 sold, up 32.2%. over 12 months. Median price was record $630,000 — a 15% increase.

Orange County: 3,895 sold, up 38.5%. Median? record $835,000 — a 11% increase.

Riverside County: 5,016 sales, up 37.5%. Median? record $476,750 — an 18% increase.

San Bernardino County: 3,234 sold, up 29.3%. Median? record $429,500 — an 18% increase.

San Diego County: 4,112 sales, up 22.4%. Median? record $680,000 — a 15% increase.

Ventura County: 1,010 sold, up 24.2%. Median? $658,000 — a 12% increase.

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