The median price of single-family homes sold during March in the Santa Clarita Valley hit its highest level since July 2010 while home sales increased 11.1 percent compared with March 2012, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Thursday, April 25.
The $420,000 median price also was up 11.1 percent from this February and was only the second time since late 2011 that the median price broke the $400,000 benchmark.
Condominiums posted a median of $220,000, up 15.8 percent over March 2012. The condominium and single-family median prices are up 29.4 percent and 23.5 percent from their record lows for this cycle, which came in July 2012 and November 2011, respectively.
“The depth of pent-up demand for housing in our community is evident in the rise in prices and continuing increases in sales, even in the face of an incredibly limited inventory of homes for sale,” said Bob Khalsa, president of the Association’s Santa Clarita Valley Division. “Home prices in all price ranges clearly are on their way up. There are multiple buyers for almost every property, yet nowhere near the supply needed to satisfy demand.”
The Association reported a record low number of active listings for the Santa Clarita Valley at the end of March. The 312 listings fell below the prior record of 317 active listings reported in February. The March tally was down 56.9 percent from a year ago and represent a mere 1.1-month supply at the current pace of sales. A 6-month supply is needed to have a balanced market. For comparison, active listings averaged more than 2,200 per month during 2007 and fell below a 1,000 listings per month average for the first time last year when the average came in at 607 listings per month.
“The lack of listings clearly adds upward pressure on prices, which benefits underwater homeowners who have loans larger than the current resale value of their home,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Yet too few listings also skews the market, which may hinder a broader economic recovery and undermine the long-term stability of the housing market.”
Neither Khalsa nor Link believe current market dynamics will change anytime soon, yet both said they welcome the day in the not-to-distant future when traditional owners grasp the scope of the today’s opportunity, feel secure enough to re-enter the housing market, and list their homes for sale.
Sales of single-family homes in the Santa Clarita Valley during March increased 11.1 percent to a total of 200 transactions. The March tally also was 30.7 percent better than this February and was the best March in three years. Home sales have increased 102.0 percent from the record low of 99 transactions set in January 2008.
Condominium sales also soared during March, up 41.8 percent to 95 closed escrows, and 37.7 percent better than February. Local condo sales were up 206.5 percent from the low point of 31 closed escrows, which also was set in January 2008.
Part of the drop in active listings relates to the plunge in sales of homes that lenders acquired via foreclosure. So-called Real Estate Owned properties accounted for a mere 7.8 percent share of the local resale housing market last month. Short payoffs, where the lender agrees to a sale price that is less than the outstanding balance of the home’s loan, captured 30.0 percent of the March transactions. That percentage has been rising as lenders, often under pressure from federal and state regulators, have grown more accepting of short sales.
Standard sales, involving traditional owners with equity in a property and a measure of the overall health of the market, accounted for 61.4 percent of March escrows closed with the assistance of a Realtor.
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.