Realtors closed escrow on 210 single-family homes sales during September in the Santa Clarita Valley, up 12.3 percent from a year ago, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Monday, Oct. 26.
The September tally marked the seventh consecutive month that local home sales have exceeded the 200-sale benchmark. The market peaked in July with 255 home sales, yet with pending escrows—a gauge of future activity—up 20.1 percent the summer’s torrid pace will continue into fall. Typical seasonal forces have both home and condominium sales off 15.3 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively, on a month-to-month basis.
A total of 102 condominiums also changed owners last month, up 9.7 percent over a year ago. It was the fifth consecutive month above 100 sales.
“The threat of rising interest rates, which did not materialize, probably prompted some owners to get moving,” said Bob Khalsa, president of the Santa Clarita Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “It’s been a busy summer, suggesting consumers have greater faith in the economy. Activity will slacken slightly as the days grow shorter and the inventory continues to shrink.”
The Valley’s tight inventory contracted further during September with the 620 active listings reported at the end of the month down 12.2 percent from a year ago. At the current pace of sales the inventory represents a 2.0-month supply, compared to the 2.5-month supply of 12 months ago and the desired 6-month supply needed for a balanced market.
“There’s little doubt that all the discussion about rising interest rates prompted some people to purchase a home now, hoping to lock in today’s low rate,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “It’s reassuring that people feel reasonably confident in the state of the economy.”
Link and Khalsa also noted that it was too early to assess the impact of the recent implementation of new federal disclosure rules. The rules require use of new forms and mandate specific time periods when they must be provided to consumers. To avoid potential problems or delays, they recommended that agents anticipate issues, urge sellers to have repair work completed soon after an escrow is opened, and avoid making changes or new demands, which might trigger new three-day waiting periods.
“Some lender says plan on a 45-day escrow instead of 30 days,” Khalsa said. “Others believe they can still get it done in 30 days, but it’s probably best if agents and consumers anticipate it will take about 40 days for escrows to close.”
The median price of the 210 homes that changed owners last month came in at $515,000, up 5.1 percent over a year ago, yet off 1.5 percent from the August median. With the exceptions of January and February, every month this year registered a median price above $500,000.
Condominiums sold during September had a median price of $325,000, up 16.1 percent over a year ago and unchanged from this August. The condo median appears to have peaked in July at $330,000.
There were a mere 11 distressed sales during September in Santa Clarita; of that total, three wire foreclosure-related REOs, for a 1.0 percent market share; eight were short payoffs or a 2.6 percent share of total sales. The 300 standard sales captured 96.2 percent of the market, the highest percentage yet since the Association starting tracking the statistic.
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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