The median price of homes sold during August throughout the Santa Clarita Valley came in above the $400,000 benchmark for the sixth consecutive month and was the highest since 2008, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Tuesday, Sept. 24.
The single-family median price of $450,000 was up 20.0 percent over August 2012 and 4.7 percent higher than this July. That figure placed it up 32.4 percent from the record low set in November 2011, yet 30.0 percent below the record high $643,000 set in April 2006.
The condominium median price of $295,000 was up 67.1 percent compared to a year ago, although it fell slightly from the $300,000 condo median posted in July, which was the highest figure since May 2008.
“As prices rise and with last month’s slight uptick in interest rates, buyers focused heavily on properly priced, entry-level properties,” said Bob Khalsa, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “That’s one reason why condo sales picked up during August.”
A total of 129 condominiums changed owners last month, up 25.2 percent over a year ago and 10.3 percent higher than this July. It was the highest condo sales total since April 2006 and the fifth consecutive month the total was above the benchmark of 100 sales. Condo sales were up 316.1 percent from the record low of January 2008, yet 36.8 percent below the record high of April 2003.
Realtors closed escrow on 176 single-family home sales during August. That was down 20.0 percent from a year ago. Nonetheless, home sales were up 77.8 percent from the record low of January 2008, while still off 56.5 percent from the record high in June 2005.
“With rising prices, more owners are listing their home for sale just as seasonal factors see slightly lower sales activity,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Those elements are yielding a slight increase in the inventory, which should release some of the pressure on prices while giving buyers more options.”
The inventory of homes listed for sale on the Association’s Multiple Listing Service increased 18.3 percent during August to 517 active listings. It was the second consecutive month that listings increased after years of steadily declining inventory.
At the current pace of sales, the 517 active listings represented a 1.7-month supply, which was the highest in a year. A 6-month supply is needed for a balanced market.
Distressed sales are playing a smaller and smaller role in the local housing market. Of the total 305 closed escrows during August, 77.0 percent were standard sales, 18.7 percent were short sales, where lenders agree to a sale at a price lower than the outstanding loan balance, and 4.3 percent were REOs or Real Estate Owned properties, which typically acquired by lenders via foreclosure.
That’s the lowest level of foreclosure sales reported since the Association started keeping the statistic last year. Short sales are down dramatically from as recently as November when they accounted for 47.9 percent of accounting for 47.9 percent of all transactions.
Just as short sales are diminishing, standard sales are on the rise, peaking at 76.6 percent in July from the record low of 39.8 percent in November.
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.