Condominium sales and prices posted strong increases during July throughout the San Fernando Valley as the local residential housing market continued to recover, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday, Aug. 26.
A total of 524 single-family homes closed escrow last month, down 11.0 percent from a year ago, which follows seasonal patterns that see sales declining from after peaking in May. Even with the decrease, home sales were up 62.2 percent from the record low of 323 sales posted in January 2008.
While a limited inventory constrained activity, condominium closed escrows of 244 units were up 27.7 percent over July 2012 and up 7.0 percent from this June. The condo tally went against seasonal patterns, was up 132.4 percent from the record low for this recession, and suggested that the condo market has momentum.
“Realtors report steady condominium activity with owners — many of them above water for the first time in years — deciding to sell, trade up, or make improvements,” said Sharon Barron, president of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “As more homes and condos come on the market and demand remains high, this feels more and more like a steady, solid pattern.”
The median price of condominiums that closed escrow in July hit $330,000, up 39.8 percent from a year ago and the highest figure since condo prices collapsed to a record low of $185,000 in May 2009. The July median was up 78.4 percent from the record low, yet was down 20.5 percent from the record high of $415,000 set in February 2006.
The median price of single-family homes that changed owners last month came in at $505,000, up 28.8 percent compared to July 2013. July’s single-family median price was up 49.0 percent from the record low for this cycle, yet off 22.9 percent from the record high.
“Foreclosures are down, short sales are diminishing, more lenders are agreeing to modify loans for still-struggling households, and even investor activity has cooled, which opens the way for traditional buyers,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “With the fire sales, hysteria and frenzy behind us, residential housing is inching closer to a normal, healthy market.”
Foreclosures and short sales hit their lowest levels since the Association started keeping the statistics a year ago June. Of the 768 total closed escrows, both homes and condos, 5.6 percent were REOs — Real Estate Owned properties held by lenders — while 11.2 percent were short sales, where lenders agree to the sale of property for less than the outstanding loan balance. A whopping 82.3 percent were standard sales, a record high.
While there were more short sales of condominiums than homes during July, Link and Barron agreed that distressed sales along with investor activity are clearly in decline. With rising resale prices, investors see fewer and fewer opportunities to capture homes that can be held and rented at minimal cost.
After hitting a record of 995 active listings in December, July ended with 1,470 active listings on the Multiple Listing Service operated by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. That was the highest total since October 2012. At the current pace of sales, the active listing total provides a 1.9-month supply, which has been rising slightly, yet steadily over the last several months. A 6-month supply represents a balanced market.
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.
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