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Home sales rise, prices plummet

Bank-owned properties and short sales continue to make up a large portion of the market.

December 24, 2011|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com

More homes sold in Burbank and Glendale in November compared to last year, but the median price continued to decline, according to the latest real estate figures.

Eighty homes sold in Glendale last month, up from 74 in November 2010, according to the figures compiled by Realtor Keith Sorem with Keller Williams of Glendale. The numbers included all residential transactions, including single-family homes, condominiums and town homes.

In Burbank, 63 homes were sold, a jump from 56 during the same month in 2010.

But the median home sale price was $381,000 in Glendale, down from $402,500 during the same time last year. In Burbank, the median price dropped to $412,000 from $465,000 in November 2010.

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Bank-owned homes and short sales, where lenders let homeowners sell their houses for less than they owe on their mortgages, made up 47.5% of total sales in Glendale and 38.1% in Burbank.

Sorem said the number of distressed homes being sold is pushing sales numbers down and, because more banks are starting to unload their housing inventory, prices could continue to drop.

New listings were a mixed bag.

In Burbank, 52 homes were put up for sale in November, up from 42 the same time last year. In Glendale, 75 new listings were logged last month, down from 89 last year.

Glendale real estate broker Gerri Cragnotti said she’s seeing a lot of investors buying homes at rock-bottom prices with cash, fixing them up and then selling them for a higher price.

The problem is that they are pushing first-time buyers who have saved for a down payment out of the market because sellers prefer cash transactions, she added.

A home valued at $750,000 or more that needs significant improvements will also sit on the market because buyers don’t want to spend the time or money to renovate the homes themselves, Cragnotti said.

“HGTV shows have influenced what the buyer expects,” she said, referring to the popularity of drastic home improvement segments.

The La Crescenta-Montrose area saw a huge slide in median home prices, from $604,000 in November 2010 to 483,500 last month.

In La Cañada Flintridge, the median home sale price was $1.05 million, a drop from $1.15 million during the same period last year.

New sales have slowed dramatically in La Cañada. Only nine homes sold in November, plummeting from 18 sold during the same time last year.

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