Counter to statewide trends, home sales throughout the Santa Clarita Valley during August increased from a year ago while the median price of homes rose to the highest level since February 2008, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Friday, Sept. 26.
A total of 214 single-family homes closed escrow during August, up 21.6 percent over a year ago and 0.9 percent ahead of this July. That was the highest sales total since the 221 sales of July 2013.
The 93 condominiums that changed owners fell 27.9 percent from a year ago August, which was the highest monthly total since April 2006. Condo sales have been above 90 for each of the last four months.
“Home sales throughout California appear to be slowing down, yet Santa Clarita activity remained stronger than expected during August,” said Nancy Starczyk, president of the Santa Clarita Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “The local economy is more vibrant and growing faster than other regions, which may be off setting a hesitancy among prospective buyers that limits other communities.
“Prices continue to rise, but not at the double-digit pace of a year ago,” Starczyk said. “Sellers must be willing to adjust their asking price to new market realities, including being open to accepting contingencies.”
The median price of homes sold last month came in at $490,000, the Association reported. That was up 8.9 percent from August 2013 and 5.3 percent ahead of this July. The single-family median price has been on a steady climb with the August median the highest since February 2008.
Rising resale prices are pinching first-time buyers, with the $285,000 median condominium resale price down 3.4 percent from a year ago and unchanged from this July. The condominium median peaked a year ago July at $300,000 and has been hovering below that number ever since.
"Home ownership remains a priority for most households," said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. "But tight lending requirements slowing down the loan qualifying process, coupled with concern over job security and the overall economy, has caused a hesitancy among many would-be buyers.
“It is especially tough on first-time buyers,” Link said, “who not only have to come up with higher down payments required by today's lending standards but also deal with existing outstanding debt, such as student loans."
Link noted unlike a short while ago when multiple offers and zero contingencies were prevalent, now a growing number of sellers include a contingency saying the sale is dependent upon the seller purchasing a replacement residence.
“Premising a sale on the buyer finding another house slows the process down,” Link said. “Yet, that could be a good thing, a development that may well yield greater market stability.”
Distressed sales have virtually vanished from the market. Of the 307 combined transactions during August, 89.9 percent were standard sales, which was a record high. Foreclosure-related sales accounted for 5.2 percent and short sales a mere 3.9 percent, which was a record low.
The inventory of homes and condos listed for sale continues to expand, albeit not to the desired 6-month inventory. There were 719 active listings at the end of August throughout Santa Clarita. That was up 39.1 percent from a year ago. At the current pace of sales, that represents a 2.3-month supply. A year ago August the Association reported a 1.7-month supply.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors® is a local trade association with more than 8,900 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.
- 30 -