The lowest interest rates in more than a year boosted the housing market with single-family homes sales during March in the San Fernando Valley up 50.0 percent from February, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® reported on Friday, April 19.
Condominium sales also saw a month-to-month bump of 17.6 percent.
“That kind of jump in sales follows seasonal trends and resulted from an unusually slow February,” said Dan Tresierras, president of the Association. “But the lowest interest rates on home loans in more than a year gave buyers a strong reason to get off the fence and make a decision.”
While up from February, the March sales totals for homes and condominiums of 399 single-family and 127 condo closed escrows were down 12.9 percent and 24.0 percent, respectively, compared to a year ago.
Resale prices vary dramatically depending on location with the median price here in the San Fernando Valley during March coming in at $692,000, the Association reported.
That was up 1.8 percent from a year ago. The local home median price has hovered just below the record high set in May and August of $708,000.
Similarly, the median price of local condominiums sold during March was $440,000. That was up 1.6 percent from a year ago, yet 2.9 percent below the record high of $449,000 set in July and August.
“Prices have been softening since last year’s race to record highs,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Now, some sellers are having to lower their expectations in the face of slowly growing inventories and rising buyer resistance to high prices.
“It’s interesting that prices continue to rise even as the inventory slowly expands and some buyers balk at high price increases,” Johnson said. “However, today’s price hikes are in the low single-digit range, an increase driven in large measure by the critical shortage of housing in throughout Southern California communities and in virtually all price ranges.”
The Association reported a total of 1,217 homes and condominiums listed for sale throughout the San Fernando Valley at the end of March.
That was up 16.0 percent from a year ago for the eighth consecutive increase after three-and-a-half years of monthly declines.
Any boost in supply is welcome news, yet for a market the size of the San Fernando Valley, the inventory is woefully below historical totals and well below what is needed to meet pent-up demand.
At the current pace of sales, the 1,217 listings represented a 2.3-month supply, up from a 1.7-month supply 12 months ago, but short of the 5-month supply that would yield a balanced market.
Pending sales, a measure of future sales activity, totaled 675 open escrows, which was down 5.5 percent from a year ago.
Of the 526 home and condominium closed escrows reported during March, 95.8 percent were standard sales involving traditional buyers and sellers.
The Association during March reported only six foreclosure-related transactions and two short sales, where the lender agreed to a sale price lower than the existing loan balance.
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 —