Home and condominium sales throughout the San Fernando Valley got off to a solid start during January even as inventory continued to shrink and the median price of condominiums hit its highest level since 2007, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Thursday, Feb. 16.
The 377 single-family homes that closed escrow last month added up to the highest total for the month since 2013, rising 11.9 percent over a year.
Similarly, 136 condominiums changed owners during January, up 15.3 percent from January 2016. The total also was the highest for the month since January 2013. The home and condo sales totals fell 24.0 percent and 24.9 percent, respectively, from December, which follows seasonal patterns.
The condominium median price in January hit the $400,000 benchmark for the first time since February 2007. It has been on a relentless upward drive with January’s condo median 10.3 percent higher than a year ago and up 5.3 percent from December. The median is 3.6 percent below the record high of $415,000 established in February 2006.
“Rising prices are wonderful for sellers,” said Nancy Starczyk, president of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “But higher prices make it tougher on buyers and a growing number of buyers really need help.”
Even with soaring prices, Starczyk noted that multiple offers continue to arrive on properly priced listings.
“I keep thinking the list price is too high,” she said, “yet full-price offers keep coming in. Buyer confidence seems higher, they’re eager to get into a home, and some are willing and able to pay the higher prices.”
The median price of single-family homes that closed escrow during January was $605,000, up 6.2 percent over a year ago and 5.2 percent higher than the December median. It was the highest median price for a January since 2007 yet well below the peak price since the economic recovery began of $625,000, posted in August, and 7.6 percent below the record-high median price of $655,000 set in June 2007.
Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer, said the lack of property for sale combined with plentiful buyers fuels higher prices. A total of 1,139 active listings were reported at the end of January. That was down 9.7 percent from a year ago and represented an extremely low 2.2-month supply at the current pace of sales.
The inventory has been hovering closer to the low 2-month range since 2012 with multiple months — 13 months — falling lower and very few — five months — at or higher than a 3.0-month supply.
“It’s difficult to believe that 7,000 active listings per month were common last decade,” Johnson said, “and that back in the 1990s there were months when more than 14,000 properties were for sale during any given month.”
There were 586 pending escrows—a measure of future sales activity—at the end of January, up 1.6 percent over a year ago.
Distressed sales posted their lowest monthly totals since the Association started collecting the data in 20012. Of the 513 combined residential transactions that closed escrows, nine or 1.8 percent of the total, were foreclosure related, seven or 1.4 percent were short payoffs, while 490 or 95.5 percent were traditional standard sales.
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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