Condominium sales throughout the Santa Clarita Valley during February increased 34.5 percent over a year ago as prices continued to rise and the inventory fell to its lowest level since 2013, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® reported on Wednesday, March 22.
REALTORS® assisted 74 condominium sales last month, up 19 transactions. Plus, 132 single-family homes closed escrow during February, off 2.9 percent from the prior year. February home and condo sales increased from January totals 7.3 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively, which follows typical seasonal patterns.
“The surge in condo sales may be attributable to a simple fact — condos cost less than single-family homes,” said Martin “Marty” Kovacs, chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “Condos remain the most affordable way for first-time buyers to become homeowners.”
There’s plenty of interest in and demand for housing, Kovacs noted, but affordability and inventory are major factors in virtually every transaction.
The median price of the 74 condos that closed escrow was $339,000, up 1.2 percent from a year ago yet off 5.8 percent from January. The high point since the recession for the condo median price was September’s median of $372,000, a number not seen since 2007. The February condo median was 14.6 percent below the record high of $397,000 set in January 2006.
By comparison, the single-family home median price for February came in at $535,000, up 0.9 percent from 12 months ago and off 4.5 percent from January’s median of $560,000. The January number also posted in July and was the highest median since September 2007. The single-family median for February was 16.8 percent below the record high of $643,000 set in April 2006.
“February sales numbers highlight the realities of a low inventory market and affordability constraints,” said Tim Johnson, chief executive officer of the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS®. “Rising interest rates typically push more buyers off the fence, but finding an affordable home will remain a challenge.”
That’s particularly true because of the region’s shrinking inventory of homes listed for sale. There were 365 active home and condo listings at the end of February. That was down 28.3 percent from a year ago and represented a 1.8-month supply at the current pace of sales. The last time there were fewer active listings was in April 2013. The record low of 312 listing was set in March 2013 while the record high of 2,630 active listings came in September 2006.
Pending sales — a measure of future home sales activity — were flat with 309 open escrows at the end of February, down 0.6 percent from a year ago.
For the first time for any month on record, there were zero distressed condominium sales last month. However, there were four distressed single-family sales: two foreclosure-related transactions and two short sales where the lender agrees to accept a purchase price that is lower than the outstanding loan balance on a home.
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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