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FLAWLESS PROPERTIES AND COOPERATIVE OWNERS ARE ESSENTIAL TO COMPLETE A SALE

 FLAWLESS PROPERTIES AND COOPERATIVE OWNERS
 ARE ESSENTIAL TO COMPLETE A SALE
 LOS ANGELES, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A flicker of activity in the trade-up housing market during September combined with strong activity by first-time buyers held sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums virtually even with August, the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors reported today.
 A total of 842 properties closed escrow, with 691 of those sales being single-family homes and 151 condominiums, board statistics indicated.
 "People with the bucks to buy a home clearly are in the driver's seat in the current market," said Lorrie Griffey, president of the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors. "Properties must be flawless and owners and real estate agents must be cooperative, or buyers simply walk out and go down the block or across the street to make an offer elsewhere."
 Even slight flaws or minor inconveniences -- such as, a home that cannot be shown or a real estate agent that is unavailable -- can doom a sale when buyers have thousands of properties to sort through, Griffey said.
 Buyers are looking at dozens of properties and are making offers only on those that truly stand out, Griffey said.
 "They literally are thumbing their nose at sellers who stick to ridiculous list prices or those who insist on making ludicrous counter-offers," she said.
 Jim Link, the board's executive vice president, agreed.
 "Homes must be designer-sharp, easily accessible, perfectly priced and properly marketed or they simply don't sell in today's market," Link said. "Sellers simply cannot do anything in this market that might turn buyers off."
 While the number of active listings fell 5.5 percent during September compared to a year ago, there still were 13,389 properties listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service operated by the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors.
 Single-family homes made up 10,540 or the total active listings along with 2,849 condominiums.
 More than half the sales reported in September went in price ranges traditionally dominated by first-time buyers.
 But board statistics also showed strong activity in portions of the San Fernando Valley with generally higher priced homes. For example, the Southeast corner of the Valley -- including Studio City and Sherman Oaks -- reported more single-family and condo sales last month than any of the board's other reporting areas.
 The average price of the 147 homes that closed escrow in the southeast region last month was $312,400. The relatively high average suggests that owners who sold to first-time buyers earlier this year now may be buying larger, slightly more expensive homes.
 "We'll watch that very closely," Link said, "to see if it is a trend or signals the beginning of renewed interest in the trade-up market."
 Regardless of the price range, however, buyers are negotiating ruthlessly, slashing thousands of dollars off the original list price.
 Single-family homes that sold in the most popular price range -- $250,000 to $300,000 -- reported an average price reduction of 13.5 percent from the original list price, Link said. That translates to a reduction of about $40,000.
 While not hit as hard, the final price of the most popular condominiums -- ranging from $150,000 to $200,000 -- sold last month with average price reductions of 9 percent, or $14,000 to $18,000 off the original list price.
 "Needless to say," Link said, "reductions from the original list price are getting rather healthy."
 Homes priced in line with today's market realities sell quickly, Griffey said. Otherwise they languish on the market for months. Even the most popular single-family homes were on the market for 190 days, or more than six months before they sold. Board statistics also indicated that condominiums that sold last month required 132 days, or more than four months, of marketing to find a buyer.
 -0- 10/12/92
 /CONTACT: Lorrie Griffey, president, or Jim Link, executive vice president, 818-786-2110./ CO: San Fernando Valley Board Of Realtors ST: California IN: SU:


BP -- LA013 -- 8864 10/12/92 13:18 EDT
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Date:Oct 12, 1992
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