Home sales in the San Fernando Valley during July were the highest in 27 months while the median price of $600,000 was the highest since September 2007, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Thursday, Aug. 20.
A total of 603 single-family homes changed owners last month, up 7.3 percent over a year ago and 4.7 percent ahead of June. While May 2013 was the last time the sales total was higher, up one sale at 604 closed escrows, 2009 was the last time the Valley had multiple months above 600 plus three months over the 700-sale benchmark.
Realtors also helped to close escrow on 200 condominium sales during July, up 1.5 percent over a year ago. It marked the second consecutive month above 200 sales, a feat last repeated in 2013 when seven months exceeded 200 sales.
“With inventory still exceptionally tight, prices continue to rise, although at a slower pace than recent years simply because there are fewer prospective buyers who can afford to buy,” said Gaye Rainey, president of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “Housing affordability is a major concern, especially as demand stays strong while the inventory of homes for sale remains tight.”
The higher sales total for July was due to typical heavy summer demand—which peaks just before schools reopen—and a desire by buyers to lock-in interest rates, which remain just above historical lows yet are expected to post modest increases over the coming year.
The median price of homes sold during July came in at $600,000, the highest median price since September 2007. It was up 15.4 percent over a year ago July, yet remained 8.4 percent the record high of $655,000 set in June 2007.
Similarly, the condominium median price of $350,000 was up 13.3 percent from July 2014, but fell less than 1 percent from the June median of $352,000, which was the highest since November 2007. The condominium median was 15.7 percent below the record high set in February 2006 of $415,000.
“The market is very healthy. If we had more inventory sales would be up, that’s for sure,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “The market is busiest from the median price of $600,000 and below and very strong in the ultra-high end, which is less sensitive to the market’s ups and downs.”
The Association reported a total of 1,855 active listings at the end of July. That was down 1.0 percent from 12 months ago. At the current pace of sales the inventory represented a 2.3-month supply, down from the 2.5-month supply of July 2014. A 6-month supply is needed to bring balance to the market.
Link noted that the San Fernando Valley has returned to an era when distressed sales played a negligible role in the market. There were 16 foreclosure-related home and condo sales during July, which represented 2.0 of the total market. Short sales totaled 17, or 2.1 percent of the market. Both were record lows.
Instead, most buyers last month fit the traditional pattern. Standard sales captured their highest share of the market, 94.1 percent, since the Association started keeping the statistic.
Pending escrows — a measure of future resale activity — suggest the market will remain busy for months ahead. Pending escrows totaled 857, up 9.2 percent from July 2014.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors® is a local trade association with more than 9,100 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.
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