Median home prices in Los Angeles inched up last month to $525,000 — an 8.2 percent jump from a year earlier, according to a new report from CoreLogic. That’s well above Southern California’s May median of $459,000, but not as staggering as what’s happening in Orange County, where home prices hit a new record of $651,000, which, as the Los Angeles Times notes, rises above even "bubble-era heights."
But experts who spoke with the Times and Orange County Register say there isn’t a new housing bubble. The Register points out the prices reported by CoreLogic aren’t adjusted for inflation, and Redfin’s chief real estate economist told the Times, "It was a lot different back in 2006 ... That price growth was fueled by a lot of crazy toxic mortgage products."
LA is within about 5 percent of its peak median of $550,000, which it reached in August 2007.
The region’s median sale price has risen year over year for 50 consecutive months, CoreLogic said.
Across Southern California, the number of homes that sold for $500,000 or more in May 2016 ballooned 15.7 percent compared with May 2015, and sales below $500,000 dropped 5.5 percent. Sales of $800,000 or more rose 14 percent year over year and sales of $1 million or more jumped 12.2 percent.
"The inventory of homes for sale remains unusually low in many markets, especially in the lower price ranges," said Andrew LePage, a CoreLogic research analyst.
"The low inventory stems from new-home sales that remain more than 40 percent below average," he said, "as well as ... a variety of other factors that have made some potential sellers reluctant to move. For example, some would-be sellers worry about their jobs and the economy, while others are still focused on mending their finances in the wake of the Great Recession."