Prices are always going to be higher near the beach, but in 2012, how much higher?
Last year, SFRs west of Sepulveda had a 13% higher
median price than homes in all areas of MB, taken together.
That's one finding from our careful look at median price data for the year that was.
Looking only at SFRs, you see a median price west of Sepulveda of $1.639M
for 2012. The result is not much different if you add in townhomes, with the median dropping just $40K to $1.599M
Both figures are notably higher than the SFR total for all of MB for the year: $1.455M
. (For more on how MB citywide compared to past years, see our year-end post: "2012 Wrap: More Sales, Tiny Median Bump
Exactly like we saw with the citywide sales data, the total number of sales west of the highway in 2012 was the greatest since 2006.
Totals for SFRs and SFRs & TH's eclipsed the 2007 numbers handily, with 243
sales of SFRs last year and 297
when THs are included, beyond the 218 and 281 found in 2007.
And these figures are very much in reach of the totals seen in the much bubblier years of 2004-2006. With just 10% more sales in the MLS, we'd be at 2004 levels.
That's all the more amazing because inventory was so cramped all year. Had there been 10% more homes offered, most would have sold.
When you look at sales totals for the year, lots of market watchers will be quick to jump to say "there were a bunch of off-market sales last year," implying that this would change the data a lot.
Three points: 1) yes, there were lots of off-market sales, 2) most were arranged off-market but reported on the MLS after the fact, and 3) every year has some number like this, and the big question is very hard to answer: Was it an anomalous, larger number of off-market sales last year?
Unless and until we can answer that italicized question there, we just don't know if off-market sales would have changed the data much.
Speaking of data quality...
We made a point last week of saying you had best not rely on "average prices" for, well, anything. (See "How 'Average' Price Misleads
And we noted that you have to look extremely closely at the data if you want accurate numbers.
That's how we calculated these sales figures and median prices.
The main problem we find in the data from prior years is duplicate entries. One sale might be recorded twice for some odd reason. In one case there was a double lot marketed under both separate addresses but sold as one entity – one sale recorded as two. And there was the TH marketed as an SFR that showed up in both the SFR and TH data.
Removing dupes usually adjusted the median price by only $2,500-$7,500, not much on a $1.5M+ number. But when we give you data, we want them to be reliable, and with some context – nothing prefab or auto-generated. It's just the way we roll.