The median price of condominiums sold during May in the San Fernando Valley set a new record at $419,000 even as a lack of listings impeded higher sales, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® reported on Thursday, June 15.
The condo median increased 17.0 percent from a year ago, breaking the prior record of $415,000 set in February 2006. May marked only the second month since 2007 that the median was above the benchmark $400,000 median price.
REALTORS® helped close escrow on 203 condominiums and 556 single-family homes, up 1.0 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, over May 2016.
A lack of active listings is a major reason, among many causes, why local single-family home sales are half the monthly totals reported last decade and a third of what they were when the record high monthly tally of 1,648 was reported in August 1988.
The association reported 1,226 active listings at the end of May, down 18.3 percent from a year ago and a mere 1.6-month supply at the current pace of sales — which is close to the record low 1.0-month supply reported in March 2004. Active listing totals have declined compared to the prior year for 28 consecutive months beginning in February 2015.
“There are still plenty of buyers, but owners simply are not listing their home for sale like in the past when people would move, trading up or downsizing, every six or seven years or so,” said Nancy Starczyk, president of the 9,600-member Southland Regional Association of REALTORS®.
“Some owners captured very low interest rates to refinance home loans, others decided to remodel, some worried about capital gains tax or higher property taxes,” Starczyk said, “Now there are some who hesitate to sell because they sense that prices may rise higher, even though it’s difficult, if not impossible, to predict and time the peak of any market.
“It’s a complex, difficult market, especially for first-time buyers,” she said. “Affordability is a big factor, yet sales continue, consumer confidence remains solid, and there is little on the horizon suggesting the market is in for a big change anytime soon.”
Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer, said the lack of inventory here in the San Fernando Valley is a common lament statewide and nationwide, though most regions across the nation have housing costs a fraction of what Californians pay.
“The bottom line, regarding home prices, regarding inventory, could not be more simple,” he said. “We need more housing production, period.”
Realtors reported at the end of May a total of 866 pending escrows — a measure of future sales activity. The total was up 4.3 percent from 2016.
Of the 759 combined residential transactions closed in May, 95.1 percent were standard sales involving traditional buyers and sellers.
Foreclosure-related sales total 10 transactions for a 1.3 percent market share. There were nine short sales, for a 1.2 percent share of the total.
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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