Homes sales in the Santa Clarita Valley slowed down slightly during April, although not to the extent seen in other communities statewide, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Friday, May 20.
A total of 183 single-family homes changed owners last month, down 4.7 percent from a year ago, but 10.9 percent higher than this March. Home sales are up 84.8 percent from their low point for this cycle even as a full-fledged recovery of the market has yet to emerge due to ongoing consumer uncertainty regarding questions surrounding existing home loans, the economy and lingering short sales and foreclosures.
Condominium sales during April of 66 units came in 10.8 percent below a year ago, but were up 112.9 percent from the record-low set in January 2008.
“It’s very difficult to define this market because there are great opportunities even as the market works through ongoing problems,” said Sal Aranda, president the Association’s Santa Clarita Valley Division. “Part of the community is still hurting while other households are reaping rewards. That’s not unusual in itself, but the spread between the polar opposites can be startling.”
Aranda and Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer, said slower sales also result from the absence of federal and state homebuyer tax credits, which attracted more buyers into the market and ended last summer.
“We’re hopeful that the market will gain momentum as the number of distressed properties decreases — which are already down about 10 percent from a year ago — and families understand what’s happening in the market and the economy,” Link said. “Prices are so attractive and loans still so affordable that sales should pick up as people gain confidence about their jobs and the economy.”
Indeed, part of the reason Aranda and Link believe Santa Clarita is fairing better than other Southern California communities is because new homes are being built again, the local economy is improving faster, more jobs are available and more companies are entering the region.
The median price of homes sold last month was $375,000, down 10.7 percent from a year ago. The condo median of $235,000 was up 6.3 percent. Both numbers have been bouncing up and down for several years and only this January hit their respective low points. Since then, the single-family home median has increased by 8.4 percent while the condo median is 17.5 percent higher.
A total of 1,191 properties were listed for sale throughout the region at the end of April. That was 31.0 percent higher than a year ago, yet a relatively low inventory for a community the size of the Santa Clarita Valley. At the current pace of sales, the active inventory represents a 4.8-month supply. Better than the 3.4-month supply of April 2010, but below the desired 5- to 6-month inventory that represents a balanced market.
Pending sales, a measure of future resale activity, were down 18.8 percent compared to a year ago.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors® is a local trade association with more than 10,000 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.