REALTORS® assisted the close of escrow of 266 single-family homes and 108 condominiums during February throughout the San Fernando Valley even as the inventory of homes listed for sale continued to expand andn Wednesday, March 20.
There were 1,186 properties on the Association’s MLS service, a number that was up 23.8 percent over a year ago. Nine of the last ten months saw the inventory spike higher, a trend that stood in sharp contrast to the prior 39 consecutive months of declines.
“Today’s buyers have less competition to deal with and a wider selection of homes to choose from,” said Dan Tresierras, president of the 10,300-member Southland Regional Association of REALTORS®. “Plus, with fewer multiple offers, buyers are finding more sellers willing to negotiate the price.
“After an extended sellers’ market, what we’re seeing today looks more balanced,” Tresierras said. “It’s a market where buyers have gained negotiating leverage and sellers may have to offer concessions if they want a speedy sale.”
The 266 homes that changed owners last month were down 13.9 percent from February 2018, a drop that followed seasonal patterns yet also set a record low. Similarly, the 108 condominium sales were 13.6 percent lower than the prior year, though up 3.9 percent from January.
The median price of single-family homes sold during February of $657,000 was down 6.1 percent from a year ago.
The home median price has been trending lower since hitting a record high of $708,000 in May and August of last year.
The same thing has been happening with the condominium median price: it peaked in July and August at $449,000 yet has dipped lower in the ensuing months. The condominium median for February of $420,000 was up 2.4 percent from February 2018.
The median price is the point at which half the homes are priced higher and half priced lower.
“Prospective buyers have interesting choices to make,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “High prices prompt some buyers to wait, while other buyers see a rare, relatively unique opportunity to own a home at a time when interest rates are more favorable, the inventory is enlarged, and sellers are more agreeable.”
Johnson noted that for the second consecutive month a key local market indicator—supply at the current pace of sales—has been in a range seen only rarely since 2012. At the end of February the inventory represented a 3.2-month supply. With only a few exceptions, every month has been in the 1- or 2-month range for the last seven years.
“Keep in mind, however, that a 5-month supply is regarded as an indicator of a balanced market, so an inventory in the 3-month range still favors sellers,” Johnson said.
For comparison, in the wake of last decade’s Great Recession a 15.2-month supply was posted in January 2008, meaning there were plenty of properties for sale, but few qualified buyers.
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.
— 30 —