Traditional sales are starting to pick up as home buyers in the Santa Clarita Valley accept the current market realities and move to capture favorable prices and low interest rates, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Thursday, July 22.
While some regions experienced a slowdown in sales, June activity in the Santa Clarita Valley posted increases in resales of existing single-family homes and condominiums.
A total of 208 homes changed owners, up 3.0 percent from a year ago. It was the second highest total since July of 2009, behind only the 215 sales posted this May. The 208 home sales in June were up 110 percent from the 99 sales posted in January 2008, the lowest monthly total of this economic downturn.
A total of 91 condominiums also changed owners last month, up 2.2 percent from a year ago. Condo sales have been inching toward the 100-sale benchmark since the low point of 31 closed escrows was reported in January 2008. June condo activity was nearly 200 percent above that low point.
"While they have no sense of urgency, there are a large number of buyers who want to take advantage of today's low home prices and even lower interest rates," said Andrew Walter, president of the Association's Santa Clarita Valley Division. "The numbers of buyers we're seeing are reminiscent of what we saw in the late 90's.
"Their general feeling about the market is that it is gradually improving," Walter said. "We are seeing more and more regular sales as prospective buyers and current owners see this as the perfect time to jump in or to move up."
The median price of homes sold last month was $400,000, down 2.4 percent from a year ago. While 37.8 percent below the record high, the June single-family median was up 4 percent from December 2008 when the median plunged to $385,000.
The condo median price of $230,000 was down 1.1 percent from a year ago and off 4.2 percent from this May. It was 42.1 percent below the record high, but the June condo median has increased15.3 percent from the record-low median price of $199,500 reported in March 2009.
"Keeping perspective is difficult when we still have owners losing their homes and short sales remain a major part of sales," said Jim Link, the Association's chief executive officer. "Yet, since the market hit bottom, we've seen a steady, slow increase in activity. We have a long way to go, but the pulse is getting stronger."
Link and Walter said sales would have been even higher except for an exceptionally tight inventory, which typically yields multiple offers on all properly-priced properties.
The total active inventory increased 14.6 percent during June to total of 1,021 active listings. Even with the increase, the inventory was a 3.4-month supply at the current pace of sales. A balanced market — where neither buyers nor sellers have an advantage — appears when there is a 5- to 6-month supply.
The single-family inventory of 771 listings was a 3.7-month supply while the condo supply is even tighter — a mere 250 condo listings for a 2.7-month supply at the current pace of sales.
Pending escrows — a measure of future resale activity — were off 13.7 percent from a year ago. The Association reported a total of 409 open escrows at the end of June compared to 474 reported a year ago.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors is a local trade association comprised of more than 10,000 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.