Southern California home prices reached an all-time high in February as buyers competed amid a shortage of homes for sale, adding to signs that pandemic home-buying trends are extending into 2021.
The six-county region’s median sales price jumped nearly 15% from a year earlier to $619,750, according to data from real estate firm DQNews.
Sales surged 17.6% from February 2020.
The numbers, published Tuesday, show how a pandemic housing boom driven by historically low borrowing costs and by demand for more space is extending into 2021. Another factor: Many millennials are entering their early 30s — a time when many people purchase their first home.
The data show that the increase in demand, however, has not been met by a surge in listings, leading to bidding wars and subsequent higher prices.
According to Redfin, the number of new listings coming onto the market in L.A. County during the four weeks that ended March 7 was just 4% higher than in the same period last year.
And with homes selling quickly in recent months, people had 13% fewer options to choose from over that period, the data show.
Daryl Fairweather, chief economist with real estate brokerage Redfin, said more homes aren’t coming up for sale because some owners don’t want to buy another home in a tough market, and some may have refinanced at record lows and are satisfied with their mortgage.
Some wealthy owners are also choosing to buy another house farther from their jobs, she said, but holding on to their old home, unsure where they want to settle down as the pandemic recedes and the economy starts to recover.
Builders are trying to ramp up to meet demand. But that takes time, and soaring lumber costs have made projects more difficult to get off the ground.
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