LA condo sales continue their unlikely rise

Deals for single-family homes down in October, though sales of $2M or more jump

Los Angeles county condo sales were up last month
Los Angeles county condo sales were up last month

Single-family home sales in Los Angeles are sliding, but condo deals keep rising.

There were 4,336 single-family home sales in countywide last month, a 2.4 percent dip year-over-year, according to Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel’s latest signed contracts report.

Condo sales jumped 25 percent year-over-year to 1,190 units sold. Their popularity contrasts with a segment of luxury brokers who predicted the pandemic would sink vertical living in L.A. as buyers opt for more space and privacy.

“Condos are a horrible investment no matter what,” Rodeo Realty’s Josh Flagg said at a TRD talks panel last month. But a surge of recent buyers would think otherwise.

Miller Samuel CEO Jonathan Miller said condo buyers are “understanding the true safety and risk associated with multifamily living,” after early fears about exposure to Covid-19.

Buyers are also benefiting from an increase in the number of condos on the market. Condo inventory was up 10 percent in October year-over-year to 1,452 units, with high-profile projects like Michael Rosenfeld’s Century Plaza hitting the market.

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Single-family listings, meanwhile, fell 43 percent year-over year last month, to 3,069 homes on the market.

“Covid has exaggerated the already chronic shortage of inventory nationwide,” Miller said.

The caveat to that: There’s less of an inventory shortage at the high-end in L.A.. The report documents 709 single-family homes listed for sale at over $2 million across the county last month, down just 1.8 percent from a year ago. That doesn’t take into account the many luxury houses still shopped off market.

Single-family home sales of more than $2 million also rose 29 percent, to 368 deals in October. By comparison, single-family home sales of less than $500,000 dropped 41 percent, to 573 sales.

Miller attributed that to the “skewed” economic downturn, where the rich have in large part gained wealth, while the pandemic has hit lower earners far harder.

In L.A., “the strength in the single-family market has consistently been above $600,000,” Miller said.