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People Are Starting to Buy Houses in Los Angeles Again

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The American Horror Story house (aka the Rosenheim Mansion) <a href="">finally sold</a> in March after years on the market
The American Horror Story house (aka the Rosenheim Mansion) finally sold in March after years on the market

The newest report out from Douglas Elliman Real Estate paints an encouraging picture of the single-family and condo market, at least as far as sales in the first three months of 2015 are concerned. Like Elliman's previous report, this overview of "Greater LA" looks at neighborhoods from the coast (Malibu, Playa del Rey) to Northeast LA, roping in Downtown, the Westside, and ritzy neighborhoods like Brentwood and Malibu. (It leaves out South LA.) This time, the numbers seem to indicate that LA's market could be picking up steam, as sales increase to a new record for this time of year.

Median housing prices have been rising on a year-over-year basis since the summer of 2012 (11 quarters in a row), the report says, and that trend's continued in the first quarter of 2015. The greater LA median sales price increased to $880,000—up 7.7 percent from $817,000 in the first quarter of 2014. In Downtown, the median sales price for condos ($560,000) was up 8.9 percent from the first quarter of the previous year. Houses in some ritzy neighborhoods saw a decline in the median price (Beverly Hills, BHPO), but in others, like Brentwood, that number moved up. Brentwood's single-family home prices rose 10.7 percent, up to $2.8 million.

Sales in LA increased 9.5 percent from the same period in the previous year to 2,173, which is a nine-year high for the first quarter and a big change from formerly slumpy conditions. Report preparer and appraiser Jonathan Miller notes the fact that the number of sales for the overall market were up year-over-year for the first time since the third quarter of 2013, suggests that there's "broader improvement" in housing sales, not just isolated gains in the luxury sector, as we'd previously seen. Since housing prices have been going up for a long time, Miller says that the the number of sales is probably a better indicator of how the overall market is doing, and the uptick in sales is heartening.

· 1Q - 2015 Greater Los Angeles Sales [Douglas Elliman]
· LA's Most Expensive Neighborhoods Are More Expensive Now Than Before the Recession [Curbed LA]
· Housing Prices Keep Rising in Los Angeles and the Number of Sales Keeps Falling [Curbed LA]