A total of 522 single-family homes closed escrow during July, down 11.4 percent from a year ago when federal tax credits boosted local resale activity, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Friday, Aug. 19.
The total also was down 7.1 percent from the revised numbers reported this June.
Condominium sales, totaling 192 units, were off 11.1 percent from a year ago.
Both categories were up from their low points for this cycle: Home sales were 61.6 percent ahead of the record-low 323 sales reported in January 2008; while condo sales were 82.9 percent higher than the record-low 105 sales that came in the same month.
“The tax credits accelerated sales, borrowing from the future, and are missed, but consumer confidence is what’s truly lacking today,” said Fred Sabine, president of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.
“Mortgage rates are down near record lows,” he said. “Prices are near record lows. There’s pent-up demand. People would be buying, if only they had greater confidence in the economy.
“Still, families who need a home and are likely to own it for years to come would be well advised to explore their options,” Sabine said. “The favorable conditions presented by this market will not last for long.”
The median price of the 522 homes sold last month was $360,500, down 9.6 percent from a year ago, but up 6.1 percent from the record-low of $339,900 set in February 2009.
The condominium median price of $230,000 was up 4.5 percent from a year ago July and up 2.4 percent from this June’s revised numbers. The condo median is 24.3 percent ahead of its record low of $185,000 set in May 2009.
“The local market has risen from its low water mark and the new normal market will take root only when troubled loans are gone and consumers see that the economy is improving, more jobs are being created, and their income is on the rise,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer.
“There’s plenty of demand for housing,” Link said, “but prospective buyers need to be confident that the economy is on track and that their jobs are secure.”
There were only 3,284 active listings reported throughout the San Fernando Valley at the end of July. That was down 12.2 percent from July 2010. At the current pace of sales, the inventory represents a 4.6-month supply.
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.