Los Angeles home prices, sales soar to new records in Q2

Malibu remains most expensive area, robust sales part of broader market boom

Los Angeles housing market reaches new heights (Getty)
Los Angeles housing market reaches new heights (Getty)

The Los Angeles housing market just keeps getting hotter.

The median sales price in the second quarter for Westside and Downtown L.A. homes was $1.75 million, 9 percent higher than in the previous quarter and 15 percent more than a year earlier. The area’s average sales price — which reflects the booming luxury market — was $2.8 million, up 20 percent from the first quarter and up 6 percent from a year ago.

“Pretty much, the results of the quarter were record-fueled numbers,” said appraiser Jonathan Miller, who authored the report. All tracked price metrics, including average price-per-square- foot — $1,178 — were the highest he’d seen in 17 years of coverage, Miller added.

The blockbuster quarter also continues a trend of surging home prices in Greater L.A. and throughout much of the country. With mortgages available at below 3 percent and buyers expecting to spend more time indoors, the region’s residential market is soaring, even amid new fears over a resurgent pandemic and more frequent extreme weather events.

“This is a housing market that’s met a lot of challenges over the last year, with wildfires, Covid,” said Miller. “But the offset to that has been a strong economy and record-low mortgage rates, and those seem to have won the day.”

Along with the record prices, L.A. also saw a record number of homes sold in the second quarter. There were 2,093 closings — 400 more than in the first quarter and more than double a year earlier, when California was first thrust into pandemic lockdowns. Even that figure was higher than expected, Miller said, in part because throughout the surging market, L.A.’s housing inventory has not decreased to the record low levels seen in much of the country.

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The second-quarter report shows that L.A.’s higher-end market is particularly buoyant.

The median sales price of single family homes increased by 13 percent from the first quarter to $2.9 million, with 4- and 5ᐩ-bedroom homes rising the most. The median price for all condos rose by 9 percent, to $966,000, while the median for newly built condos surged 39 percent, to $3.8 million. The supply of new condos also decreased slightly from the first quarter, to 3.0 months.

The L.A. luxury market grew even hotter. The median price in the second quarter for a luxury single family home was $13.4 million, a 31 percent increase from the first quarter, while the average price was $16.9 million, a 41 percent increase. Both figures were lower than a year earlier, when fewer than half as many luxury homes were sold.

Malibu, where the pandemic has inspired a kind of luxury buying frenzy not seen since before the 2008 crash – and where the late billionaire businessman Eli Broad’s Pacific Highway estate recently sold for $52 million – remained the region’s most expensive. Single family homes in the enclave sold at a median $4.4 million in the second quarter, 71 percent higher than the first quarter and 111 percent higher than a year earlier. Single-family homes in Malibu Beach sold at a median of $9 million, 33 percent higher than in the first quarter.

Los Angeles’ upscale Westside, including the neighborhoods of Beverly Hills Post Office, Bel Air/Holmby Hills and Brentwood, also saw soaring single-family home prices.

The robust high-end sales are part of a broader trend that reflects the polarized nature of the pandemic, Miller said, where lower wage workers were badly impacted but most upper-tier earners were left financially unscathed.

“And so the high end came out of the gate pretty quickly,” he said, “and record low mortgage rates didn’t hurt.”