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Buying in LA has never been pricier

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The county’s price record fell for the second month in a row

The median sale price in LA County was $585,000 in March.
Divanov | Shutterstock

Los Angeles homebuyers faced record-high prices in March, according to a new report from real estate data tracker CoreLogic.

The median sale price in LA County hit $585,000 last month—a $5,000 increase over February and the highest median figure ever recorded in the area. That price was also 6.6 percent above the March median in 2017, showing that rising interest rates on mortgage loans haven’t yet slowed the steady climb of LA home values.

As CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage points out, those higher interest rates have driven up costs for homebuyers even further. Across all of Southern California, monthly payments rose 12 percent over the past year, compared to an 8.4 percent increase in sale prices.

None of this seems to be deterring buyers much. In LA County, the total number of homes sold in March was up nearly 43 percent over February. Fewer homes sold this March than last year, but a lower number of business days this year may explain some of the difference (sales aren’t recorded over the weekend).

Overall, though, sales figures are still low compared to historical averages. LePage says that’s because fewer homes are on the market. That “inventory crunch,” in turn, drives up prices and makes the local housing market even more competitive.

The cost of buying in LA has been steadily rising since the Recession, and prices are now even higher than they were just prior to the mortgage crisis.

But adjusted for inflation, there’s still room for growth. Across Southern California, median prices are 13.4 percent below the level reached in July 2007—when risky loans propelled home costs to new heights.