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Relaxed restrictions on in-person showings at the end of April caused home shoppers to flood the LA County real estate market in May.

Encouraged by record-low mortgage rates, buyers stepped off the sidelines to compete for limited inventory, spurring heated bidding wars.

While new signed contracts and new listings took a serious hit when compared to May of last year, both segments showed significant signs of improvement over April, according to a new report by residential real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman.

“After a long atypical decline in both new contracts and new listings since January, May activity jumped as pent-up demand began to spill out into the market,” said Jonathan Miller, the author of the report and CEO of real estate appraisal and consulting firm, Miller Samuel.

New signed contracts for single-family homes, sought after for their abundance of space, totaled 2,772 in May, a 44.1 percent decrease over the same period one year ago. Still, it was a boost over April figures, when there were fewer than 2,400 contracts signed. 

The number of new listings for single-family homes also rose, adding supply to the inventory-starved market. There were 3,979 fresh listings in May, down 42.6 percent year-over-year, but better than the roughly 3,300 single-family homes that hit the market in April.

New signed contracts for condos, which have waned in popularity due to their shared spaces, ticked up slightly from April to May, hitting 507. Compared to May 2019, however, new contracts plunged by 50.7 percent.

On the new listings front, there were 918 condos that went up for sale last month — a 41.2 percent dive compared to the 1,561 new listings recorded in May 2019. That being said, there were fewer than 800 new condo listings in April, so it’s a modest monthly gain for the supply side.

It remains to be seen whether the pent up demand will be a temporary phenomenon that lasts a couple of months or a prolonged period of homebuying as Angelenos who can now work remotely transition from renting in expensive neighborhoods near employment centers to purchasing homes in more affordable suburban markets.

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