Monday, June 15, 2009

Los Feliz Market Round-Up: May 2009

What does it take to sell a home in Los Feliz in May 2009? Bank-owned, probate or trust status, or a low price in the Atwater Village or the Franklin Hills.

Only seven homes sold in Los Feliz in May 2009 (median sale price $637,000), down from sixteen home sales in May 2008 (median sale price $899,000), eighteen home sales in May 2007 (median sale price $974,000) and 31 home sales in the distant days of May 2006 (median sale price $1,150,000).

The top sale: an REO. 3431 Amesbury Road, a 4 bedroom, 4 bath, 4,306 sq ft Mediterranean home on a 4,800 sq ft lot sold for $1,469,000.

The second highest sale: a trust sale. 2366 Hobart Boulevard, a 1971 Mission-style teardown on a 12,260 sq ft lot at the top of Los Feliz states sold for $1,000,000.
The fourth highest sale: a probate sale. 5867 Tuxedo Terrace, a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,016 sq ft English storybook-style house on a 3,484 sq ft lot, sold for $637,000. This home was featured in November 1927 issue of Sunset Magazine (for those who don’t have it lying around.)

In the Franklin Hills, 3827 Fernwood Avenue sold for $595,000. Two sales in Atwater Village were for less than $500,000.

What conclusions can we draw from these sales?

First, motivated sellers are making the market. Banks, trustees and courts that are rubber-stamping sales and responding to low offers are finding interested and motivated buyers and are closing deals.

Second, homes financed with conforming loans (under $729,750 in Los Angeles County) are routinely selling. One Beverly Hills escrow officer told this writer that 90% of transactions in her office are financed by FHA (conforming) loans.

Third, the jumbo mortgage market, with high-interest rates, high downpayment requirements and stringent underwriting guidelines is strangling the high-end Los Angeles market. In Los Feliz during March – May 2009, four houses sold for over $2,000,000. Currently, there are 31 houses priced over $2 million – a 23 month supply.

The market shows signs of perking up – there are currently 27 homes in either back-up or pending status with a median list price of $798,000. Three of these sales are over $2 million. Some of the back-up and pending sales will inevitably will fall out of escrow and higher interest rates may curb sales, but current activity is looking better than during moribund May.