Despite a record low inventory, home sales throughout the Santa Clarita Valley during August remained virtually unchanged from a year ago while condo sales increased, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Compared to 12 months ago, a total of 220 single-family homes and 103 condominiums closed escrow last month, a drop of 0.9 percent and a gain of 9.6 percent, respectively. Both categories posted month-to-month increases, up 8.4 percent and 17.0 percent.
“We’re hitting a point in the market where the limited inventory, particularly the falling percentage of bank-owned properties listed, are limiting choices for today’s growing number of buyers,” said Erika Kauzlarich-Bird, president of SRAR’s Santa Clarita Valley Division.
“A decline in foreclosures, while reducing inventory, ultimately is healthy and leads to a rise in traditional equity sales,” she said. “Yet nearly a third of current owners still owe more than their homes are worth, making it difficult for them to list for sale, thus contributing to the dwindling inventory.”
A record-low 437 properties were listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service operated by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. That was down a record 60.8 percent from a year ago, beating the prior low of 490 active listing set this July. The inventory has been steadily declining since peaking with 2,630 active listings in September 2006.
“We continue to see a strong demand for housing throughout the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “But the local market, like most of California, is hindered by virtually no inventory, which translates into multiple offers on much of what is for sale.”
The 437 active listings represent a 1.4-month supply at the current pace of sales. That compares to a 3.5-month supply of August 2011. A 5-to 6-month supply signals a balanced market.
The median price of homes sold last month rose 0.7 percent to $375,000. It also was up 7.1 percent from this July. The condominium median price of $176,500 was down 11.8 percent from a year ago, yet up 3.8 percent from July.
Of the properties sold last month 33.9 percent were standard equity sales, up from 27.8 percent in July. Short sales, where lender allow a home to be sold for less than the outstanding debt, accounted for 23.9 percent, were down from 32.3 percent in July.
Real estate owned transactions, properties held by lenders acquired via foreclosure, fell to 10.2 percent of all transactions, down from 15.5 percent in July.
Surprisingly, pending sales — a measure of future activity — were still showing positive numbers. The 420 open escrows were up 6.9 percent from a year ago.
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.