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Median Housing Price Hits Record High in Upper-Class Parts of Los Angeles

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Housing prices in Los Angeles are still rising and expected to keep rising for at least a few more years, experts have forecast, and the latest report from real estate firm Douglas Elliman has the crazy new numbers to show it. In an overview of single-family house and condo sales for the third quarter of this year, the median sales price in the greater Los Angeles area shot up by 8.1 percent, to $950,000—a record high and the highest median since they began tracking in 2004. (Greater LA here applies to the Westside, Downtown, and coastal cities like Malibu, but leaves out lower-priced areas like South LA.)

And the craziest thing is that the median price reached that nearly-million-dollar record not because of "a handful of super high-end homes," but because of "a strong middle," report preparer Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel tells Curbed in an email. Prices grew in the middle and lower end of the market, in terms of bedrooms; the median sales price for one-bedroom, single-family houses increased 8 percent over the previous quarter, and an enormous 58.7 percent over the same time last year. Median sales prices for two-bedroom and three-bedroom single-family houses also increased compared to last year, but the gains were smaller—5.6 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

The mean sales price across the board, however, did fall a bit: there was a 2.8-percent drop in the average sales price from the third quarter of last year, so now it's down to only WAY over a million dollars: $1,406,910. The report chalks this up to "weakness of the largest sized categories in both the single family and condo markets." The combination of the small drop in average sales price and the median hitting a record means that there's more "price growth" in the middle of the market and not so much at the very top, says Miller. That suggests that either there's not a lot of action at the top of the market, or that "prices are not keeping up with the middle of the market," he says.

Some places commonly associated with the top of the market, like Bel Air and Holmby Hills, have seen dips in their total number of sales. Bel Air/HH's median sales price was down 14.4 percent from the previous quarter, to $2.015 million, but were still slightly (1.85 percent) up over their median from the third quarter of last year ($1.985 million). In Beverly Hills, the median and average sales price jumped up over last year and over last quarter. The average sales price there was up 23.2 percent from the same time in 2014, to $4,958,723, and the median sales price was up 27.3 percent, to $3.83 million.

For all the details, here's the full report:

· 3Q - 2015 Greater Los Angeles Sales [Douglas Elliman]
· Los Angeles Housing Market Isn't Getting Bubbly, Says Study [Curbed LA]