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Median Home Price Busts the Million-Dollar Mark in Fancy Parts of LA

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The median sales price in just the rich areas of the city is now $1.035 million

With the median LA County home topping half a million dollars, it sometimes feels like all of Los Angeles is the luxury market, but when we focus on just the fancy parts of town, the number get even wilder. All the rich people parts of town had a great first quarter of 2016 in terms of home sales. The median price for single-family houses and condos in what the report calls Greater LA saw a record for the fourth consecutive quarter—a heartstopping $1.035 million—and enjoyed their 15th quarter in a row with a year-over-year rise, says a new quarterly report out from Douglas Elliman. (In the report, Greater LA applies to the high-end areas of the region, like the Westside and coastal cities including Malibu, plus Downtown, but leaves out lower-priced areas like South LA. The full list of communities included is here.)

That over-a-million median sales price is a record, and it's the first time the median has crossed the million-dollar mark, the report says. The average sales price in the first part of the year hit its own record: It jumped 14 percent to $1,581,607. The overall upward trend played out differently in neighborhoods across the city. In Bel Air and Holmby Hills (which are grouped together in the report), the average sale price of $3,683,458 represented a nearly 14 percent drop from the previous quarter ($4,278,776) and a decrease of about 22 percent over the previous year's average ($4,735,867).

Downtown LA, on the other hand, saw a rise in sales prices. The average sale price of a DTLA condo rose from $660,375 in early 2015 to $779,822 in the beginning of this year. The median sales price was up 6.3 percent from the same time the previous year, hitting $595,000. The number of overall sales was way down, though, from 106 in 2015 to 60 in the first three months of 2016. The report notes that, across the region observed, about nine percent fewer sales closed in the first three months of this year than the same time the previous year. (However, pending sales were up by about 12 percent from the first quarter in 2015.) This same trend is playing out in the LA market as a whole too: prices are rising while the number of sales is dropping as more and more people are priced out.

The report found good news for the very top of the market, though. "After a weak second half of 2015," luxury housing prices (the top 10 percent of the market) are creeping up. "There was no skew in the size of the average sale due to their nominal changes that would cause the sharp rise" in the price indicators, the report says, meaning that "prices didn't rise because property sizes that sold were larger," explains report preparer Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel. The luxury median single-family home cost $5,912,500 at the beginning of this year. That's nearly a million dollars more than median price from the same time in 2015, when a median mansion would set a buyer back just $4.925 million. Here, too, sales weren't up, though there was a rise in the number of places for sale.

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