Local Realtors during 2016 assisted 2,493 sales of existing single-family homes throughout the Santa Clarita Valley while the annual price rose 6.3 percent, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Thursday, Jan. 19.
The home sale total was up 1.7 percent over 2016 and was the second consecutive year activity has been on the upswing following two years of declines of less than 2.0 percent.
The annual tally has exceeded the 2,000-sale benchmark every year since the local home market bottomed out in 2007 with 1,993 sales. 2015 saw a 9.9 percent bump up in sales, a number upon which Realtors improved in 2016.
“There’s strong, ongoing demand for housing in Santa Clarita,” said Marty Kovacs, the 2017 chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “We have a similar problem found in most other local markets in California — a lack of inventory. However, we’re fortunate to have a significant number of new homes coming onto the market and more nearing the end of construction, which often translates into additional listings of existing homes for sale.
“What happens in 2017 depends on the economy,” he said, noting that he hopes the incoming administration in the nation’s capitol will support strong housing policies and understand that in California the purchase of a home is beyond the reach of many average wage earners.
“Home sales will increase if the economy is stimulated,” Kovacs said, “enough people feel confident about the future and have the added resources to pay for a home of their own.”
Realtors also assisted the sale of 1,095 condominiums during 2016, down 0.8 percent or nine sales from 2015. The local condo market made small but steady gains in annual sales after bottoming out with 836 sales in 2008 even as HOAs and buyers struggled with issues surrounding financing of condo purchases. 2012 and 2013 saw double-digit increases in annual condo sales, only to have the total drop 14.4 percent in 2014 as the lack of inventory put a brake on sales.
Tim Johnson, the chief executive officer of the 9,600-member Southland Regional Association of Realtors, said local and state leaders will have to join with a robust federal housing policy if California hopes to ease the housing crunch.
“Something needs to be done if we want to ensure that essential service providers like police, fire and first responders, have an affordable place to live,” Johnson said. “The solutions will come through a combination of local and statewide housing initiatives and reforms. And the wild card is the new administration’s plan for federal housing policy.”
The annual price of the 2,493 homes sold last year posted its fifth consecutive increase, ending 2016 at $542,933, up 6.3 percent over the prior year. Annual prices may be continuing to rise, but the pace of the increase is slowing, which reflects the tightening market and falling affordability.
Similarly, the condominium annual price of $338,875 was up 7.8 percent over 2015 and was the fifth consecutive annual gain.
Single-family home and condominium annual prices are still below their record highs: The 2016 annual home price was 10.0 percent below the high of $603,492; and, the condominium price was 11.0 percent below its record high of $380,583, with both records set in 2006.
Sales no doubt would have been higher in 2016 if only there had been more properties to sell. The annual average monthly active listing total peaked at 2,232 per month in 2007 only to plunge to an average 955 listings per month in 2009. 2016 saw the average monthly active listing total drop 8.7 percent from 2015 to 543 active listings.
At the current pace of sales, that represents a 1.9-month inventory, compared to the 10.3-month supply reported in 2007 and the historical statewide average of a 6-month supply. Eight months during 2016 saw the supply at or lower than a 2-month backlog, which may well be the new normal.
2016 closed out with Realtors facilitating the close of escrow during December on 198 homes and 84 condominiums, down 16.8 percent and 15.2 percent, respectively from December 2015.
The December single-family home median price came in at $555,000, up 7.1 percent over the prior year, while the condominium median of $340,000 was up 10.0 percent. Active listings declined 2.9 percent to 437, which represented a1.5-month supply at the current pace of sales.
Pending sales—a predictor of future sales activity—had 200 open escrows at the end of the year, which was unchanged from December 2015.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors® is a local trade association with more than 9,600 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.
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