A limited inventory restricted home sales in the San Fernando Valley during April and pushed the median resale price up for the second consecutive month, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Friday, May 25.
The median price of $399,000 was up 12.4 percent over a year ago and was 5.4 percent higher than this March. It marked the second consecutive month that the median price came in higher after ten straight months of declines. It is up 17.4 percent from the record low for this cycle, which came in December 2011.
Likewise, the condominium median price of $230,000 rose 15.0 percent compared to April 2011. It was the fourth consecutive month that the condo median price came in higher than the prior year.
“It’s absolutely true that there’s strong activity in the local housing market and increased interest from traditional homebuyers,” said Wendy Silver-Hale, president of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “Properly priced properties often have multiple offers within a matter of days and wind up with a final sale price that is considerably higher than the list price.
“People want and can afford to buy a home,” Silver-Hale said, “yet the biggest limitation at this moment is the extremely limited inventory.”
The homes and condominiums listed for sale on the Association’s Multiple Listing Service plunged even lower by the end of April, falling 45.1 percent below year ago levels to a total of 1,734 active listings.
It was only the second time listings fell below the 2,000 benchmark since April 2005 — just as the boom market was scaling its heights — and the lowest active listing total since the 1,492 listings of March 2004, which was the record low since the Association started keeping this statistic in 1986.
At the current pace of sales the inventory represents a 2.6-month supply, which is considered to be critically low and likely to impact the market — limiting sales, prompting multiple offers, thereby pushing resale prices higher.
“A brighter economic outlook, great affordability, record-low interest rates, and the return of traditional buyers all help return the market to normal,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Given the number of distressed properties out there, who would have thought the inventory would be so tight that it would be a brake on sales?”
A total of 512 single-family homes closed escrow during April, down 6.6 percent from a year ago, although up 2.0 percent from this March. While the tally was the lowest for the month since May 2007, home sales, nonetheless, were up 58.5 percent from the low point for this recession, which came with a mere 323 sales in January 2008.
A total of 165 condominiums changed owners last month in the San Fernando Valley, down 19.9 percent from a year ago and up 0.6 percent from this March. While disappointing compared to the prior year, the tally was the highest monthly total so far this year and was up 57.1 percent from the record low for this cycle, which came with 105 sales in January 2008.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors® is a local trade association with more than 9,000 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.