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Home prices still headed down

Realtor expects distressed sales to continue for several years.

January 24, 2012|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com

Home sale prices in December continued to drop compared to a year earlier, according to the latest figures, with the median price of a single-family house dropping from $677,000 to $548,000.

The number of single-family homes that sold also dropped, from 59 in December 2010 to 49 last month — a nearly 17% decrease, according to data compiled by Realtor Keith Sorem of Keller Williams of Glendale. New listings also fell from 62 to 43.

In previous real estate reports, information for single-family homes and condominiums was combined. Beginning this month, those categories are separated.

The median price for a condominium in Glendale fell less sharply, coming in at $238,000 in December, down from $300,000 the same month a year prior. The number of condos sold declined from 33 in December 2010 to 27 last month, even as the number of listings increased.

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The number of bank-owned homes and short sales — in which lenders let homeowners sell their houses for less than they owe on their mortgages — made up almost 42% of total sales in December, compared to nearly 40% a year ago.

The high number of distressed sales will continue for a few more years, said Realtor Judy Schlegel of RE/MAX Tri-City.

But therein lies the Catch 22, Schlegel added. While distressed properties open the market up to more people, she said, “it’s a loss for owners who are unable to keep their properties.”

Schlegel is seeing more activity in the local real estate market this month, she said, partially attributing that to people waiting until after the holidays to put their houses up for sale, or to start looking for new homes.

“And if properties are priced right, we’re even seeing multiple offers again,” she said, adding that she would like to see more homes on the market.

The picture was brighter in the La Crescenta-Montrose area, according to the statistics.

Twenty-two single-family homes sold last month, up from 19 in December 2010, and the median sale price rose from $549,000 to $554,000.

Condos didn’t fare so well. Only three sold last month, down from five in December 2010. The median price increased, though, from $272,000 in December 2010 to $312,000 last month.

In La Cañada Flintridge, 12 homes sold in December, a big drop from 20 the same month in 2010. But the median price also rose, from $1 million in December 2010 to more than $1.1 million last month.

 
 

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