• LA County's median home price is roughly nine percent off its peak.
  • Lower priced homes in LA County saw the largest increase in value on a year-over-year basis.
  • New homes sales activity in the county noticeably trails historical averages.

In December, LA County home sales activity experienced an unusually high 38 percent increase on a monthly basis.

According to Andrew LePage, analyst for CoreLogic, this large uptick was the result of newly implemented mortgage rules, TRID, and more buyers and sellers looking to close before year’s end for tax purposes.

“I don’t want to overvalue the TRID impact,” he said. “But it did impact things.”

Within LA County a total of 7,196 homes sold in December, according to a Southern California data brief from CoreLogic. During November, 5,202 houses traded.

“It’s normal for sales to increase from November to December. I would have been surprised if they hadn’t,” LePage said, noting that a 10 to 15 percent month-to-month increase is common.

The December home sales total includes 5,032 existing single-family, 1,788 existing condo and only 376 new home sales. The volume of new homes sales is nearly 49 percent below the average number of new homes sales in December, 733 sales, dating back to 1988.

LA county home sales annual gains consistent

While month-to-month changes were unusual, sales activity and home price growth on a year-over-year basis were in line with previous month. The 7,196 home sales in December equated to a 8.2 percent year-over-year rise.

The median price of a sold home last month inched up by 8.1 percent year-over-year to $500,000. At half a million dollars, the median home price in LA County is now 9.1 percent off its peak.

Aside from historically thin inventory, the main driver of appreciation has been value growth lower price point homes have recently experienced, LePage noted.

Lower price point homes in LA County would typically be considered as those valued at less than $400,000. Appreciation in this category doesn’t bode well for overall affordability or first time buyers.

Of the 20,890 home sales that occurred in December throughout the six counties that comprise Southern California, 34.4 percent closed in LA County. According to LePage, this is no surprise.

Email Erik Pisor

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