Realtors helped close escrow on 123 single-family homes and 69 condominiums throughout the Santa Clarita Valley during January even as the median price of both categories hovered below record high levels, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Thursday, Feb. 16.
The home sales total was up 8.8 percent over a year ago while condominium sales surged 25.5 percent compared to January 2016. The home sales total was the best start in two years while the condo sales figure has not been higher since January 2007. Both categories dropped compared to December, falling 37.9 percent and 17.9 percent, respectively, which follows seasonal patterns.
“I think it is too early yet to have a clear idea as to where the market is heading for the year,” said Martin “Marty” Kovacs, chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “Demand for housing in Santa Clarita remains strong, yet rising resale prices and the limited inventory are powerful forces that limit buyer options and constrain sales.”
The median price of the homes sold during January was $560,000, up 5.7 percent from a year ago and 0.9 percent ahead of December. June’s median price of $575,000 was the highest median in 10 years while the January median price was 12.9 percent below the record high of $643,000 established in April 2006.
The condo median price for January was $360,000 rose 17.5 percent from January 2016 and 5.9 percent from December. September’s condo median of $372,000 was the high point since the economic recovery began. This January’s median was 9.3 percent below the record high of $397,000 set in January 2006.
“More than most other regions of the nation, local housing has unique constraints, namely a dearth of inventory and shrinking affordability,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Looking ahead, rising interest rates and uncertainties in national housing policy make prediction for the year even riskier than usual.”
Pending escrows, a measure of future sales activity, fell 10.7 percent from year ago levels with 433 open escrows reported at the end of January.
At the current pace of sales, that represents a 2.3-month supply compared to the 2.9-month inventory of January 2016.
The annual average inventory peaked at an 11.2-month supply in 2007 and then gradually fell as recovery took hold until bottoming out with an annual average of an 1.7-month supply in 2013. Since then the inventory has hovered around a 2.5-month supply for 2014 and 2015 and in 2016 fell to an average 2.0-month inventory, which appears to be the new normal.
Distressed sales have nearly vanished off the local radar. There were zero condo distressed sales and only two single-family home short sales along with one foreclosure-related transaction. Distressed sales accounted for a mere 1.5 percent of the 192 total transactions reported in Santa Clarita during January.
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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