HOME SALES ARE STILL STRONG MEDIAN ANNUAL PRICE UP 21.4% IN FEBRUARY.Byline: Gregory J. Wilcox Staff Writer
Home sales maintained a strong pace in February even as prices soared an annual 20 percent or more in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. County and several other regions, a trade group said Wednesday.
Last month, the median price of a previously owned home in Los Angeles County soared an annual 21.4 percent to $473,350 but inched down 0.5 percent from January, said the California Association of Realtors. Sales increased 6 percent from a year earlier.
The statewide median increased an annual 20.4 percent to $471,620 and dipped 2.9 percent from January.
Prices typically bounce up and down from month to month, and the trend of big annual gains continued in February. Price gains in many areas of California are twice as big or more than for the entire nation.
``It's premature to talk about a bubble bursting,'' said Robert Kleinhenz, deputy chief economist The Chief Economist is a single position job class having primary responsibility for the development, coordination, and production of economic and financial analysis. It is distinguished from the other economist positions by the broader scope of responsibility encompassing the at the Los Angeles-based trade group.
That's because inventory - improving, but still tight - is driving sales and demand remains robust.
If sales activity proceeds at February's pace, consumers will buy 608,170 homes by the end of 2005. And during the year's first two months, statewide sales are 5.2 percent higher than a year earlier and up 6.1 percent in Los Angeles County, the group said.
Kleinhenz said appreciation rates are expected to average 15 percent this year from the 20 percent range of 2004.
Statewide inventory is now a 3.9-month supply of properties, double the amount at the end of February 2004.
``There's a great upside potential Upside potential
The amount by which analysts or investors expect the price of a security may increase.
The potential price or gain that may be expected in a security or in a security average, generally stated as the dollar for the market,'' Kleinhenz said.
Mortgage rates are expected to rise but to a level still considered low by historical standards. Last month, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 5.63, not much different from the 5.64 percent of a year ago, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a Freddie Mac Freddie Mac: see Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. survey.
Adjustable rates Adjustable rate
Applies mainly to convertible securities. Refers to interest rate or dividend that is adjusted periodically, usually according to a standard market rate outside the control of the bank or savings institution, such as that prevailing on Treasury bonds or notes. averaged 4.16 percent last month, up from 3.55 percent a year ago.
And it took on average 14 days longer last month to sell a house than a year ago, the association said.
Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., said that February's activity reflects buying decisions made weeks earlier and he predicted activity will remain brisk Brisk as a proper name may refer to:
``There is still a lot of momentum in the market,'' he said. ``If you are a prudent person and want to buy at a favorable fa·vor·a·ble
1. Advantageous; helpful: favorable winds.
2. Encouraging; propitious: a favorable diagnosis.
3. mortgage rate, you better get busy.''
Gregory J. Wilcox, (818) 713-3743