Even with early signs of seasonal cooling, the home resale market in the Santa Clarita Valley stayed exceptionally busy during August, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Monday, Sept. 28.
Escrows closed on 248 single-family home sales during August, up 15.9 percent over the prior year. They fell slightly—2.7 percent—from the 255 sales of July, which was the highest tally since March 2007. August was the sixth consecutive month that Santa Clarita home sales stayed above the 200-sale benchmark.
Similarly, a total of 121 condominiums changed owners during August throughout Santa Clarita. That was the fourth consecutive month above the 100-sale benchmark and the highest monthly total since August 2013. The 121 sales were up 30.1 percent from August 2014 and 1.7 percent higher than this July.
“Today’s market is stronger, fundamentally different from the rapid rise and quick fall of the market seen in the last decade” said Bob Khalsa, president of the Santa Clarita Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “We’re seeing fewer multiple offers and fewer offers coming in above asking price. It’s still a sellers’ market, even as price increases go up at a slower, single-digit pace and affordability issues limit the pool of prospective buyers.
The median price of homes sold last month was $523,000, up 6.7 percent over a year ago and 2.6 percent higher than July. It was the sixth consecutive month the median price was above the $500,000 benchmark, a feat not seen since 2007.
The condominium median price of $325,000 was up 14.0 percent over August 2014, yet 1.5 percent below the $330,000 median reported in July, which was the highest condo median since December 2007.
“Part of the heavy activity seen this summer was due to the threat of rising interest rates on home loans,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Rates remain near historical low levels, yet there are indications from the Federal Reserve that they will rise later this year.
“The fundamentals of this housing market are different than what we saw a decade ago, what with people not moving as quickly as in the past and a shift in consumer view regarding housing,” Link said. “Yet with interest rates likely to rise and rents soaring ever higher, the arguments for buying a home get stronger with every passing day.”
Link and Khalsa noted that there were 675 active listings throughout Santa Clarita at the end of August on the Multiple Listing Service operated by the Association. That was down 6.1 percent from the 719 active listings of August 2014. At the current pace of sales the August tally represented a 1.8-month supply compared to the 2.3-month inventory of 12 months ago and the 6-month supply needed to bring the market into balance.
The local housing market, while still busy, appears to following seasonal patterns. There were 350 open escrows—a measure of future sales activity—at the end of the month. That was up 5.7 percent from a year ago, a single-digit increase compared to the double-digit sales gains seen through much of this year.
Fully 93.0 percent of the total combined 369 closed escrows during August were standard sales involving traditional buyers. A mere six sales, or 1.6 percent of the market, were foreclosure-related REOs, while 16 sales, 4.3 percent of the total, were short payoffs, where the lender agrees to a sale price less than the outstanding loan balance.
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.