Home Values in North County, Fringe Areas Increase Most Steeply

Staff Reporter

A booming aerospace market and an influx of upwardly mobile Latino families are driving up home prices along the fringe of South Central Los Angeles and in the Antelope Valley at a pace greater than gains seen in the rest of the county.

Data collected by San Diego-based DataQuick Information Systems suggests that those communities, where housing is at the lower end of the market, could see continued price gains through the rest of the year.

The migration of Latino families out of South Central and the limited supply of housing in the fringe communities helped push December 2001 home values in Gardena and Inglewood up 22 percent and 17 percent, respectively, over year-earlier values, the report found. By comparison, countywide single-family home appreciation was 15 percent.

Meanwhile, prices are being driven up in Lancaster and Palmdale by home buyers priced out of the San Fernando Valley and employees culled from across the country by the Lancaster operations of aerospace firms. Palmdale's 15 percent annual appreciation rate matched the county's, while Lancaster home values increased by 22 percent.

"These are people who didn't participate in the stock market," said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors. "Their 401(k)s didn't explode."

As for the future, DataQuick analyst John Karevoll sees more strength in the lower end of the market, as well as more questions at the upper end.

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