Despite the sales slide, association officials said the first quarter turned out a bit better than expected, especially with attention focused on the subprime loan sector meltdown. “Publicity about an impending down market may be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but right now the numbers do not indicate that either prices or sales are plummeting,” said Jim Link, the association’s executive vice president. On a monthly basis, March continued a sales trend that began in October 2005. Last month sales fell an annual 19.9 percent to 770 transactions, the association said. The median price, the point at which half the properties cost more and half less, edged down 3.3 percent, or $20,000, in the past 12 months to $595,000. It dipped 2.5 percent, or $15,000, from February. Daniel Blake, director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at California State University, Northridge, doesn’t put too much emphasis on the monthly sales figures. “It’s a stale market,” he said. “And weakness is developing in prices.” Some reports have shown slight year-over-price increases, but Blake notes the rate of inflation is 3.8 percent. Housing “is losing real value right now even if the price edges up by a few thousand dollars.” The smaller, condominium market followed a pattern similar to single-family homes’. In the first quarter sales fell 11.3 percent to 753. The median price declined 2.1 percent to $393,000. On a monthly basis sales jumped 48.6 percent and declined 10.2 percent from a year ago. The median condo price was $399,000, unchanged from a year ago, and it fell $1,000 from February. Blake believes that further price declines are likely for both houses and condos, but the annual percentage dips probably won’t reach the double digits anytime soon. At the end of March there were 5,680 properties listed for sale across the Valley, up 20.3 percent from a year ago. This represents about a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace but is still less than the 6.7-month-supply average for the last 20 years. Association president Winnie Davis said the current market is a good one for negotiation. “I do think the market is stable and is a balanced market where buyers and sellers are on equal footing,” she said. “It’s a lot better market than it used to be.” email@example.com (818) 713-3743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Home sales continued falling across the San Fernando Valley during the first quarter of 2007 as the median price slipped under the year-ago level for the first time in 10 years, a trade association said Monday. In the January-to-March period, sales of previously owned houses fell 13.1 percent to 1,865 transactions, and the median price dipped $1,000 to $606,000, said the Van Nuys-based Southland Regional Association of Realtors. That’s the first price decline since the first quarter of 1997, when the median home price fell $27,500, or 5.5 percent, to $158,000. The median-priced Valley home in this year’s first quarter is nearly four times more expensive than a decade ago.