A diminishing inventory throughout the San Fernando Valley restricted home sales during March while adding upward pressure on the condominium median price, which hit its highest mark since September 2007, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Thursday, April 14.
The condo median price of $382,000 was up 14.0 percent from March 2015 and also rose slightly from this February, which was the previous high point of this recovery. Nonetheless, the condo median price came in 8.0 percent below the record high $415,000 set in February 2006.
The single-family home median price of $592,900 increased 10.5 percent over a year ago. That was 9.5 percent below the record high and appears to have plateaued when it hit $600,000 in July. It has been hovering below that price since. The single-family home record high median price of $655,000 was set in June 2007.
“There are plenty of buyers, but not enough homes and condos listed for sale,” said Gina Uzunyan, SRAR president. “Any property even remotely priced right sells quickly, with heavy demand putting incredible pressure to act quickly on buyers, sellers and their Realtors.
“Every buyer I’m working with is super motivated,” she said. “They want to go look at properties right away. In this market, every second counts.”
Uzunyan expects sales to pick up following typical seasonal patterns as the weather warms and summer approaches, yet the small inventory unquestionably will limit activity.
“Low inventory equals low sales,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “You don’t need a PhD. in math or economics to figure that one out.”
March marked the 14th consecutive month to post a decline in the total active inventory. The record-low inventory came December 2012, with a mere 995 listings, but then the number of started rising, posting double-digit gains from July 2013 to January 2015. Since then, listings have been in decline, which hit bottom at 1,207 listings in December.
There were 1,334 active listings on the MLS operated by the Association at the end of March. That was down 7.3 percent from a year ago and represented a mere 2-month supply.
For perspective, in 2008 the monthly average inventory exceeded 6,500 listings with that boom’s high of 7,730 listings coming in October 2007. The monthly record high 14,976 listings came in July 1992.
Realtors helped close escrow on 189 condo sales during March, up 13.2 percent from a year ago, while sales of 470 single-family homes fell 12.5 percent below a year ago, primarily due to the limited backlog of homes on the market.
There were 854 open escrows — a measure of future sales activity — at the end of March. That was up 1.5 percent over a year ago.
Of the 659 combined home and condominium sales during March, 94.8 percent were standard sales involving traditional buyers and sellers. Distressed sales retain a minor share of activity with foreclosure-related transactions capturing a 2.3 percent share of the market, while short sales accounted for 2.4 percent of the total.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors® is a local trade association with more than 9,500 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.
– 30 –