San Fernando Valley home prices shatter all-time record

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The cost of buying a home in the San Fernando Valley hit a new record-high in February, according to a new report from the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

A typical Valley residence now runs buyers $700,000—well above the previous median price record of $675,000 set in November 2017. That price is also 16.7 percent higher than a year earlier.

By comparison, real estate tracker CoreLogic estimated the median price across all of LA County to be $580,000 in February, a 10.5 percent increase over the same time a year ago.

Real estate agent Mark Alan Bua, a listing specialist for Keller Williams Encino-Sherman Oaks, tells Curbed that these massive price jumps are forcing buyers to make tough choices when purchasing a home in the area. Shoppers, he says, must be “extremely flexible” with the items on their wish list.

That’s because they’re likely to run into other buyers looking for many of the same things. Bua estimates that more than half of homes listed for under $1.5 million receive multiple offers in popular neighborhoods like Studio City, Sherman Oaks, and Toluca Lake.

Low inventory is one possible explanation for the skyrocketing prices. According to realtors association, just 958 homes across the entire San Fernando Valley were on the market in February. Over the past three months, fewer homes have been on the market in the area than at any point since the association began keeping track in the 1980s.

The group’s CEO, Tim Johnson, suggests that Valley homeowners who took advantage of good deals in the wake of the Great Recession may be reluctant to part with those residences now.

“Just as today’s rising interest rates prompt prospective buyers to take action, owners locked into yesterday’s historically low rates appear to be hesitant to list their home for sale,” says Johnson.

Bua says new state rules making it easier to build accessory dwelling units (otherwise known as back houses or granny flats) have added value to properties on larger lots—and given owners another reason to stay, since they can easily add space that can then be rented out for a bit of extra income.

Both homeowners and buyers, says Bua, are treating purchases as longterm investments, rather than opportunities for a relatively quick profit.

“If it’s a nice property in a good school district, buyers don’t think twice about overpaying,” he says. “They’re in it for the long haul.”

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