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Local home prices rise amid tight housing market

May 17, 2012|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com

The number of homes for sale remained sparse in Glendale last month, and fewer of them sold, according to latest figures released this week. However, the median price edged up even as bank-owned properties and short sales made up almost half of the total residential transactions.

The number of single-family homes for sale dropped by about 46%, from 230 in April 2011 to 124 last month, according to statistics compiled by Realtor Keith Sorem at Keller Williams in Glendale.

Thirty-eight homes sold last month, an 11.6% drop from 42 the same period last year.

At the same time, the median price for a single-family home increased in April, rising to $625,000 from $570,000 in April last year.

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Realtor Armen Avedian with Prudential California Realty in Glendale said he sees the market rebounding soon, but slowly. Homebuyers are sensing that residential real estate has hit the pricing bottom and are jumping into the market, even if it’s for an investment opportunity.

“It’s almost a guarantee,” he said. “There are very few guaranteed investments out there.”

Distressed sales made up almost 48% of the April total, according to the Sorem report. Distressed sales are comprised of bank-owned properties and short sales, in which a lender lets a homeowner sell a house for less than they owe on the mortgage.

The number of condominiums on the market in Glendale tanked even worse than single-family homes, plunging 67% from 188 in April 2011 to 62 last month.

Only 30 condos sold last month, a 16.7% decrease from 36 sold in April 2011.

But the median price for a condo also increased, from $250,000 in April 2011 to $264,000 last month.

Broker Sevak Sohrabian, who is also with Prudential, said there’s more at play with the housing shortage than simple supply and demand.

Some banks fear lawsuits by state attorneys general over unfair foreclosures and lending practices, making them tepid about foreclosing on homes. It’s also harder for potential buyers to secure loans, even if they have good credit.

Appraisal values are also coming back up, another good sign that the real estate market is turning around, Sohrabian said.

The number of single-family homes for sale in the La Crescenta-Montrose area remained low, too. Forty-one homes were on the market last month, a 67.2% drop from the 125 homes in April 2011, according to the Sorem report.

Twenty-nine homes sold last month, a small decline from 31 in April of last year. The median price rose, however, from $515,000 in April 2011 to $530,000 last month.

In La Cañada Flintridge, 68 homes were for sale last month, down nearly 40% from April 2011.

Home sales improved slightly, with 24 houses sold last month, compared to 21 the year prior. The median price dipped to about $1.17 million from $1.22 million in April 2011.

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