Following a pattern emerging statewide, home and condominium sales throughout the San Fernando Valley increased compared to a year ago November as buyers searched through a limited inventory for bargains, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Monday, Dec. 19.
A total of 511 single-family homes changed owners last month, up 8.7 percent from a year ago. Home sales were up 58.2 percent from the record low for this cycle, which was posted in January 2008.
Condominium sales also rose during November with the 190 closed escrows up 6.7 percent. Condo sales are 81.0 percent higher than the record low.
“Buyers get the message about low prices and low interest rates and they are out there in numbers,” said Fred Sabine, president of the Association. “Lenders are a little more responsive, but there are too few homes listed for sale, thus limiting buyers’ choices.”
Sabine said he expects the inventory to increase in the New Year once the holidays are over and owners get more comfortable about the economy.
The 2,773 active listings at the end of November were down 24.7 percent from a year ago. At the current pace of sales, the inventory represents a 4.0-month supply, which is low for a market as large as the San Fernando Valley and below the desired 5- to 6-month supply representing a balanced market.
“Considering the ongoing challenges the market has faced, an awakening of buyers is encouraging,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “More markets are showing increased activity, which will move distressed properties through the system more quickly and help further stabilize prices.”
Link noted that home sales throughout California posted an increase both on a monthly and annual basis in November, marking the fifth consecutive month of year-to-year sales increases.
The median price of the 511 homes sold last month in the San Fernando Valley came in at $355,000, down 7.8 percent from a year ago, but up 1.4 percent from this October.
The November median was up 4.4 percent from the record low of $339,000 set in February 2009, but has posted only minimal gains this year as foreclosures and short sales, representing about half of current sales, maintain downward pressure on prices. Plus, much of today’s activity is in entry-level price ranges, which also tends to keep the median price low.
The condominium median price of $225,000 was up 7.1 percent from November 2010 and is 21.6 percent higher than the record low set in January 2008.
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.
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