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LA Median Housing Price Has Topped Half a Million Dollars

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LA County housing prices continue to soar while overall sales drop

Southern California's median housing price jumped up to $449,000 in March, from March 2015's median of $425,000, according to real estate data firm CoreLogic (via the LA Times). The 5.6 percent increase across the six-county SoCal area comes as "buyers fought over a meager supply of homes for sale and bid up values," the Times says. In LA County, the median price in March was up 5.9 percent, to $506,000.

As older buyers hunker down in their homes (as opposed to selling and moving into smaller quarters) and new building fails to hit "historically normal levels," the supply of housing available hasn't matched the demand at all. When that happens, prices climb to a point where they become out of reach for a lot of people. A California Association of Realtors report showed that in the last three months of 2015, only 27 percent of households in LA County could actually afford to buy a median-priced house there.

So it's actually not too surprising that SoCal sales numbers weren't quite as robust as prices. Housing sales in the region rose just 1.9 percent from the same time a year earlier; LA County's sales numbers dropped by 1.4 percent. "Many would-be buyers continue to face hurdles such as waning affordability, moderately tight credit and a relatively tight inventory of homes for sale," CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage tells the Times. A Trulia report showed that especially for those looking to break into the market by purchasing a starter home, the market is incredibly tight.

If there's any good news for those poor souls who are looking to buy, it's that prices are expected to rise a little bit less this year than they have in previous years as "buyers struggle to increase their bids."