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Local housing market better than most

Property values in Burbank hold steady from last year amid large countywide drop.

August 24, 2010|By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com

Glendale and Burbank are among the best-performing cities in a slumping regional real estate market, according to figures released Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office.

Some 49,000 residential properties in Glendale are worth nearly $22.9 billion, an average of $467,000 — a 1.3% increase over last year, according to the report.

In Burbank, 33,400 properties were assessed at a total of nearly $18.3 billion for an average of $547,000, or essentially the same as in 2009.

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Residences in Glendale and Burbank held or increased value in 2010 even as the county experienced an $18.5-billion drop in year-over-year property values, according to the report.

Overall, Los Angeles County property values declined 1.7%. The cities that dropped the most were Lancaster and Palmdale.

The assessor's report was unveiled the same day that the National Assn. of Realtors announced that July experienced the biggest month-over-month drop in home sales — 27% — in 42 years. The drop was linked to continuing doubt about the economic recovery and the expiration of a federal tax credit for new homebuyers in April.

The stable markets in Burbank and Glendale exceeded projections city officials made when putting together their budgets for the year.

Joy Forbes, deputy city manager in Burbank, said the city had planned on property tax revenue being down by 2% this year.

The county assessor's report, she said, "strikes me as good news. I think it has a lot to do with our solid infrastructure. We have an excellent employment base, and our businesses and residents seem to be happy with the city services provided."

In Glendale, officials had anticipated flat figures, so the growth was unexpected.

"For us, that's great news," said Glendale Finance Director Bob Elliot.

Local real estate agents attributed the stable values to prime location, as well as responsive municipal services and the fact that there is little room in either city for new construction.

Armik Avedesian, a real estate agent with Keller Williams in Glendale, said the city's "safety factor, the schools and the fact that Glendale is family-friendly" supports its housing market.

Linda Barnes, with Keller Williams Burbank, said both cities benefit from having their own public safety and municipal services.

"We are self-contained cities. We aren't part of Los Angeles and are able to function on our own," she said.

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