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Rising prices and rampant bidding wars in the single-family market have prompted many Los Angeles County homebuyers to purchase comparatively affordable condos instead. 

In April, newly-signed contracts for condos surged 159.8 percent year-over-year, according to a report from residential real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman. There were 1,611 pending sales last month, compared to just 620 during the same period a year ago. 

“Condo new signed contracts in particular have risen sharply year over year since September,” wrote report author Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc.

While sales activity in April 2020 was severely hampered by a ban on open houses and in-person showings imposed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the latest figures are a significant improvement over historical trends.

During the first quarter of 2020, ending on March 31st, there were 545 closed condo sales throughout Los Angeles County. By contrast, in 2021’s first quarter, that total increased to 790 transactions, “the highest year over year rate in nearly seven years,” noted Miller.

Last month, condos in the $300,000 to $499,000 range represented the largest share of inked deals, followed by those priced between $500,000 and $599,000. There were 1,071 newly-listed properties, down 6 percent from March but a 34.7 percent boost over April 2020.

New signed contracts for single-family homes in Los Angeles County climbed 63.5 percent annually, amounting to 4,234 pending sales. This marked a slight decline from March when 4,308 properties went from ‘active’ to ‘pending.’

The bulk of new signed contracts were for single-family homes priced between $500,000 and $899,000, although the $1 million to $1.99 million range saw a flurry of activity as well. New listings, which have “steadily declined since November,” according to Miller, amounted to 2,264 properties — a 33.6 percent decrease compared to year-ago levels.

While inventory remains extremely tight, causing home prices to escalate further, the current market conditions haven’t been enough to dissuade prospective buyers. “New signed contracts for single families and condos combined have surged year over year for four straight months,” added Miller. With mortgage rates falling yet again, we could see even higher pending sales figures in the months to come.


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