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LA housing prices break another record

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The cost of buying has been at an all-time high for three months

Midcentury modern house
LA County’s median home price hit $590,000 in April.
Photo by Liz Kuball

It’s been a tough spring for Los Angeles homebuyers. With fewer than usual houses on the market to choose from, prices bested an all-time record in April, according to a new report from real estate tracker CoreLogic.

That makes three months in a row in which the region’s price record has been broken, and homes are now selling for well above prices seen in the buildup to the 2007 mortgage crisis. In April, the median price was $590,000—close to a 1 percent gain over a month ago and 7.3 percent higher than the same time last year.

Price bumps seen across Southern California are likely driven by a lack of supply in the housing market, according to CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage. That’s reflected in the fact that far fewer homes than normal are selling in the area. In LA County, for instance, home sales in April were down more than 8 percent since a year earlier.

LePage says this is an especially tough time for homebuyers because rising prices have been accompanied by a sharp uptick in interest rates on home loans.

“The roughly 7 percent gain in Southern California’s median sale price over the past year understates the hit that homebuyers have taken,” says LePage, pointing out that monthly payments for buyers are up almost 13 percent over the same time period.

Within LA County, prices vary dramatically from city to city, and even neighborhood to neighborhood. Selma Hepp, chief economist for Pacific Union, says more affordable parts of the county bring down the median price significantly. For example, the median price in South LA is $375,000, while in Beverly Hills, it’s more than $2.5 million.

Hepp found that the median price for homes in the broad region encompassing the Los Angeles Basin, the San Gabriel Valley, and the southern San Fernando Valley is quickly approaching the $1 million mark. In this area, prices have grown an astonishing 14 percent in the last year, and the median now sits at $939,500.