Los Angeles County Median Home Price 2020 (2021 update)
The Los Angeles County median home price 2020 can be tricky to determine. There are different sources that say different things, and it’s not clear as of this writing in early 2021 which of the many options will be relied upon by courts and trustees.
This is provided as information only, and is not legal advice. If you are thinking of filing bankruptcy, do not rely upon this information, as you’re assuming all risk and are literally gambling with your home and will have only yourself to blame if you use the wrong numbers for the Los Angeles County median home value.
See a bankruptcy attorney for more updated information before you file.
Average is not Median
Before we can determine what the Los Angeles County median home price is, we’ll need to know what it’s not. A median is not the same as the average. This takes us back to high school math, but a quick couple of definitions:
- Average (or mean): this is where you add up the data, and then divide by the number of data points
- Median: this is where you list all the data, and then take the number which is at the midpoint
So, as you can see, the median is not the same as the L.A. County average home value.
The Median Changes Over Time
Because the median is the midpoint of all the data, each time there’s another home sale, the median changes and moves. You may figure with a random distribution of data, there would be an equal likelihood that future sales will be about half above and half below the median, keeping the median the same. But home prices change over time and are not static, and particularly during a virus pandemic like the COVID-19 coronavirus we had last year in 2020.
For example, you might find some data sources that list the 2020 Los Angeles County median home price for last year, but only through December. In December, there were a new round of stay-at-home orders, as the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths increased.
What impact does a government order to shelter-in-place have on home sales? Can you assume that houses would sell for the same prices in December around the holidays as they do during the summer when people move a lot and kids are usually out of school?
The Los Angeles County median home price is not the same as that for the L.A. area
Los Angeles County is one of the largest counties in the United States, with over 4,000 square miles. While you may find data for the metropolitan area, that’s very different than the numbers for Los Angeles County. Why? Because L.A County goes from South Bay all the way up to the Antelope Valley and Lancaster. The Los Angeles County median home price is pulling together data from all these.
Los Angeles County is home to about 10,000,000 people, while the city of L.A. has “only” 4,000,000. If you use only city data, you’re missing out on home values in remote areas in LA County like Littlerock and Pearblossom on the 138 and on the way to Vegas.
The Median Home Value is not the same as Median Home Sales Price
You can find some sites which average the values of the homes in the L.A. area, or even Los Angeles County. The problem with that is this: you’re using their own estimate about the Los Angeles county median home values, even those that didn’t sell, when what you’re really needing is the sales price of homes that actually sold.
After reviewing all the above, you can see that we’re looking for a very specific thing here, and no one website reports the Los Angeles County median home price, or has information that in 2021 is depended upon reliably as the “go to” source for Los Angeles County median home value information. Over time, maybe one place will emerge, but for now there’s just a few “almost there” entries.
Some Data Sources Which are Close
With all that being said, you can understand the challenge of finding the Los Angeles County median home price. Most websites are using averages, some have only the L.A. area, and none of them let you have access to the data of all the home sales so you can calculate the median yourself.
Zillow: this company is famous for using its proprietary “Zestimate” to approximate home values. For example, if you go here, you can find what Zillow calls “the typical home value of homes in Los Angeles.”
But that number isn’t clear…. What does “typical” mean – average or median? Remember, they’re different. Home value or home price? There’s no indication this is relying on sales data. And for what time period? Now, at this snapshot in time, last month, this year, or last year?
The website doesn’t say what the Los Angeles County median home price is. It also doesn’t say if it includes single-family homes, is only single-family homes, or something else.
Realtor: This website features real estate, but if you dig down deep enough, you can find market data, research, and trends. It provides data by month, not year, and appears to be providing listing prices, not sales prices.
Redfin: Redfin is another national real estate website, which tracks listings and sales, and helps connect home buyers to realtors. It has market data and trends, but seems to be restricted to only Los Angeles city, not all of Los Angeles county median home price info.
CAR: The California Association of Realtors also has some market data. But it cautions that the data which it is using comes from over 90 associations and counts “single family detached homes only” and “median price changes may exhibit unusual fluctuation.”
Trulia: Similarly, Trulia is a real estate website that tracks home sales and house prices. It has a way to filter for L.A. and show market information at the bottom of the page, but doesn’t show Los Angeles county median home price or value info. It appears to list home values the way Zillow does, but it doesn’t appear to be relying on sales data.
Note: you may find some websites that provide spreadsheets of Los Angeles County median home price data, and lists medians by month. Taking the median of the medians isn’t the same as the median of all the sales data, you’re just creating garbage data. To find the true median home price of Los Angeles County, you’d have to have access to all the sales data, something very few people have.
And that’s the problem: no one person has the data, and different places which are close report different numbers for the Los Angeles county median home value.
While some of these are close, none of these seem to provide “the” number which can be relied upon, especially for something which involves risking your home.
Is there one bottom line source for Los Angeles County median home price? No, and honestly, a lot of us are trying to sift through all this information to make sense of it. Maybe in the months ahead, one choice will crystalize as the one we all rely upon.
This will likely be after litigation and people guess wrong and lose their homes in some cases because they guessed wrong on home value. But for now, there is not one number that we can reliably “bet the house” is the median home price in Los Angeles County.
Be very cautious, use this at your own risk, and best of luck to you in your future.
If you’re in Los Angeles County, request a case evaluation, which we can set up by Zoom.