The first month of the new year ended with the residential real estate market in the San Fernando Valley reporting an increase in condominium sales along with price hikes for homes and condos and a slight uptick in active listings, which remain exceptionally limited, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® reported Tuesday, Feb. 20.
Realtors assisted the sale of 341 single-family homes during January. That was down 9.5 percent from a year ago when 377 homes closed escrow. The January tally was 11.1 percent above the record low, which came in January 2015 with 307 sales.
Condominium sales in the San Fernando Valley totaled 146, up 7.4 percent from 12 months ago — the highest tally for the month since January 2014.
“Demand for condominiums, especially in entry-level price ranges, remains high,” said Gary Washburn, the 2018 president of the 10,300-member Southland Regional Association of REALTORS®. “The acute shortage of homes for sale pushes resale prices high, which makes housing even less affordable, while also subduing home sales.
“And, while the recent federal budget deal offered a few wins for residential real estate,” Washburn said, “the impact of the tax reform bill may well further impede home sales.”
The federal budget deal consummated Feb. 9 offered a temporary extension of federal flood insurance, along with an extension of REALTOR®-backed tax provisions that include relief from debt forgiveness, the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums, and several energy-efficiency related provisions.
“Decisions in Washington no doubt will impact us here in the San Fernando Valley,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Yet REALTORS® expect the market to remain solid, though both sales and prices will be impacted by ongoing inventory shortages, expected hikes in interest rates, and the ripple effects of tax reform, which hits states with high housing costs, like California, hard.”
The median price of homes sold locally during January was $620,000, up 2.5 percent from January 2017. Home prices set a record high in November with a median price of $675,000, with January 8.1 percent below that record. Home prices have been marching steadily higher every month since hitting bottom at $339,000 in December 2011.
The median price of condominiums that closed escrow last month came in at $412,500. That was up 3.1 percent from a year ago, yet down 4.1 percent from the record high $430,000 posted in December. The condo record low of $185,000 was set in May 2009.
There were 918 active listings — homes and condos — at the end of January, which was down 19.4 percent from a year ago. At the current pace of sales that represents a 1.9-month supply, well below the desired 5- to 6-month inventory. Nonetheless, the active listing total was up slightly from the record low of 819 active listings reported in December.
Monthly active listing totals had been rising steadily from mid-year 2012 through 2014. But since February 2015 every month has seen a drop in listings compared to the prior year, with 2017 seeing double-digit drops every month, except January 2017, culminating with the record low in December.
Combined residential pending escrows—a measure of future sales activity— totaled 563, a drop of 3.9 percent from a year ago.
The Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® is a local trade association with more than 10,300 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.
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