Sales in the Santa Clarita Valley of existing single-family homes slipped slightly from a year ago with the 148 homes that closed escrow down 8.6 percent from a year ago, but up 2.8 percent from this October, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday, Dec. 21.
Condominium sales of 82 units were 13.9 percent higher than a year ago and 10.8 percent above this October. Home sales are up 49.5 percent and condo sales have risen 164.5 percent their respective lows for this cycle.
"November's stronger than expected sales reflect the pent-up demand, and strong desire and need for housing on the part of buyers," said Andrew Walter, presidents of the Association's Santa Clarita Valley Division. "The market is poised for a recovery, hindered primarily by consumer uncertainty about the economy and tighter loan qualification standards.
"Savvy buyers understand that prices are very favorable and that if they qualify for a loan, now is a prime time to be out house hunting, especially while others hunker down for the holidays," Walter said.
The median price of the 148 homes that changed owners last month came in at $390,000, down 4.2 percent from a year ago and unchanged from this October.
Similarly, the condominium median price of $210,000 was down 12.2 percent from a year ago and off 12.1 percent from October. While down dramatically from their record highs — 39.9 percent for homes and 47.1 percent for condos — both have increased slightly from their respective lows for this cycle.
"Foreclosures and short sales are not as dominant a part of the market as just a short while ago, yet it will take time to work through the back log," said Jim Link, the Association's chief executive officer. "Plus, there are many home owners who are struggling to keep their home, so there's a lot of work to be done before a normal market appears.
"Still, there's much to be optimistic about and a rising inventory gives prospective buyers more options and more opportunities to buy while prices remain favorable," Link said.
There were 1,296 active listings at the end of November throughout the Santa Clarita Valley, up 58.4 percent from a year ago.
At the current pace of sales, the inventory represents a 5.6-month supply — right in the middle of the 5- to 6-month supply that represents a balanced market. That's a dramatic improvement from the 3.5-month supply reported in November 2009.
Pending escrows — a measure of future sales activity — suggest further slowing of the market over the next several months, a typical trend for this time of year. There were 296 open escrows at the end of November, down 14.5 percent from 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.