First Half '11: More Sales, Lower Median

By Dave Fratello | July 18th, 2011
We had not yet published YTD sales date for the first half of 2011, and now we can.

In short: Prices in MB are down a bit this year compared to 2010, on somewhat higher sales.

The story takes on a couple of wrinkles after that as we look at MB west of Sepulveda and all of MB separately.

All of MB

It's remarkable, at first blush, to see median prices in 2011 hovering very close to 2009 levels.

Citywide, the improvement in the median price 2 years after the trough of 2009 is less than a full 1%. Another way of saying that is that MB is flat to 2009 prices.

By contrast, the median price's year-over-year improvement from the first half of 2009 to the first half of 2010 had been 5%. Sunny days. We've now given up 4%.

Whatever the median prices, it's got to be encouraging to see the number of sales trending consistently up. The uptick in closings Jan. 1-June 30 is almost 11% year-over-year to 2010, while 2011's 167 sales is a 48% improvement over the doldrums of '09.

West of Sepulveda

As with the city as a whole, you see somewhat more sales west of the highway in 2011 than were seen in the first half of 2010.

The 122 sales from Jan.-June this year was stunning 60% more than the 76 seen in the same period as the local market's brakes were fully engaged in 2009.

Last year, the median price for the first half made a big leap from $1.547m to $1.725m (+11%). This year, the median cascaded almost 7% west of Sepulveda, but you're going to have to draw your own conclusion about how we rose so high last year or fell so far this year. Maybe 100 or so sales is still too small a sample size.

The current median price WoS, at $1.610m, is up 4% from that very difficult year of 2009. Not quite as flat as MB overall at +1%.

Reason for optimism: These figures look a little different from those we reported for YTD sales as of the end of May. (See "Recent Sales Trends in MB.") Then, 2011 sales both west of the highway and citywide lagged very slightly behind 2010 sales.

Now that we see the complete first half exceeding sales figures for 2010 by either measure, the obvious inference is that June 2011 sales were much better than June 2010 sales. Turns out, that's right, by a lot – as this final chart shows. (Click any chart to enlarge.) 

Closed sales totals were up by 2/3rds for June 2011 compared to June 2010. Statistical quirk or warming trend?

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