Prices dropped while you weren't looking

Dated: May 2 2021

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Greater LA median home prices history

This chart shows the median sales price for homes sold in the greater LA area from 1990 through March of this year. In those three decades, prices have trended downward twice—in a buyer’s market from 1993 to about 1996, and during the great recession of 2007 to 2009. The big drop that happened in ’07 and ’08 was caused by loose lending practices and artificial pumping up of mortgage-derivative valuations. Those factors aren’t active in today’s market, so (thankfully) we aren’t likely to have such a dramatic drop again anytime soon. We will experience a buyer’s market again, although no one can be certain when. During the buyer’s market of the early ‘90s, interest rates were roughly double what we have today, so that aspect of the market is actually better today than it was then.

The seasonal fluctuations in this chart should look interesting to anyone trying to make the best of market trends. For over ten years there has been a consistent pattern of sales prices starting from a low in April or May, rising to a high for the year at the end of summer, then dropping roughly halfway back to the April level in November, then in December rising partway back to the September highpoint. Perhaps a smarter strategy than waiting for the market to drop is aiming to put a house under contract at the time of year that favors you!

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DAVID DUNLAP

As a residential real estate executive with an extensive background in corporate marketing, I am able to apply unusually strong skills in marketing communications, e-marketing, strategic planning and ....

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