Wednesday, March 21, 2012

LA County Home Sales Up, Prices Down

Home sales in Los Angeles County rose by 11.1 percent in February, compared to the same month a year ago, while prices dipped by 5.1 percent, a real estate information service recently announced.

A total of 5,261 homes changed hands locally last month, compared to 4,736 in February 2011, according to La Jolla-based DataQuick. The median price of a home in Los Angeles County in February was $299,000, down from $315,000 in
February 2011.

While the housing market has been struggling due to a shaky economy, Walnut has the distinction of seeing the biggest leap in property values of any city in Los Angeles County, according to data released in August 2011.

The city’s property values went up by 4.6 percent, outdoing the county’s 1.49 percent hike, according to the 2011 Assessment Roll Los Angeles County Assessor John R. Noguez unveiled last summer.

In Orange County, 1,904 homes were sold in February, up 0.1 percent from February 2011, when 1,903 were sold. The median home price was $388,500 last month, down 5.2 percent from $410,000 in February 2011.

A total of 15,573 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in February, according to DataQuick. That was up 7.2 percent from 14,523 in January, and up 8.4 percent from 14,369 in February 2011.

"February got a big boost from investors and others paying cash for relatively affordable homes, as well as from an extra day's worth of sales thanks to the leap year," said John Walsh, DataQuick president. "Without the latter, sales might have been up a bit, but not to a five-year high. It's just one more reason for us to remind everyone that January and February usually aren't good months to use for forecasting purposes."

The median price for a Southern California home was $264,750 last month, up 1.8 percent from $260,000 in January but down 3.7 percent from $275,000 in February 2011, according to DataQuick.--Local Editor Melanie C. Johnson contributed to this report.

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