Continuing to defy statewide trends, sales and single-family home prices increased during September in the Santa Clarita Valley, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday, Oct. 28.
A total of 187 single-family homes closed escrow, up 8.1 percent over September 2013, but down 12.6 percent from this August, which follows typical seasonal trends and also resulted because the August tally was this highest of the year.
Condominium sales, which have lagged for months due to lack of inventory and buyer difficulty obtaining loans, totaled 93 sales, off 7.0 percent from a year ago and unchanged from the August tally.
“The market is much more balanced now that investors have largely retreated, with foreclosure related sales hitting a record low,” said Nancy Starczyk, president of the Santa Clarita Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “The demise of distressed properties has forced buyers and sellers to accept the limits of this emerging market.
“Prices are still rising, but sellers realize that buyers can go only so high,” she said.
The median price of the 187 homes that changed owners last month came in at $490,000, up 14.0 percent over a year ago and unchanged from this August.
It was the highest median price since February 2008. After posting increases in the low 20 percent range since July, the median has come in under 15 percent from February to June and was in single-digit territory during July and August.
The condominium median price of $280,000 was up 1.8 percent over year ago, but fell 1.8 percent from this August. The condo median price peaked at $300,000 in July 2013 and has been bouncing around under that number since.
“Sellers understand that with each price increase they lose a percentage of eager buyers who do not have the income or credit history to obtain a loan,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Demand remains strong, but the bargain-priced distressed properties that fueled multiple offers two years ago have vanished. Affordability and the ability to qualify for a loan, especially for first-time buyers, will influence list and sale prices from this point forward.”
Link and Starczyk said they welcome signs that multiple regulators are announcing relaxed underwriting criteria intended to spur more loans, speed the recovery of the still-lagging home resale market, and bolster the economy.
Standard sales hit a record high during September while foreclosure-related bank sales dropped to a record low. Of the 280 total closed escrows reported, standard sales accounted for 253 or 90.4 percent. There were a mere six foreclosure sales, or 2.1 percent, and 18 short sales, or 6.4 percent of the total.
The active inventory of 706 listings reported at the end of September was up 25.2 percent from a year ago. Since July 2013 the inventory has been growing at a high double-digit pace—peaking with an 89 percent increase this March. But the rate of increase has been slowing in recent months, with September’s 25.2 percent gain being the third smallest increase since the inventory tide turned in July 2013.
At the current pace of sales, the inventory represented a 2.5-month supply. That was up from 2.1-months in September 2013, but a 6-month supply is needed to have a balanced market.
Realtors reported 304 pending escrows at the end of September. That was up 10.1 percent from the 276 open escrows of September 2013.
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.
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