Sales of existing single-family home in the San Fernando Valley jumped 4.7 percent in April, the first year-to-year increase since July and only then Tuesday, May 14.
REALTORS® assisted 495 home transactions that closed during April, 22 more transaction than a year ago. The tally also was up 24.1 percent from March.
The Association also reported 155 condominium closed escrows, down 4.9 percent from the prior year, but a gain of 22.0 percent from March, which follows typical seasonal patterns.
“A slowly increasing inventory, lower interest rates, and sellers willing to negotiate all contributed to the April increase in sales,” said Dan Tresierras, president of the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS®. “The fourth consecutive month of lower interest rates bolstered buyer confidence in the market, convincing them that they have greater negotiating leverage today than just a short while ago.”
Single-family home sales hit a record low in February, but activity has picked up as the traditional Spring homebuying season gets underway.
Part of that is due to the realization by some sellers that prices rose too high too fast and that sellers needed to be flexible if they truly wanted to sell.
The record high median price came in May and August of last year at $708,000, but has been knocking around under that number ever since, with monthly reports showing either a decline or modest, single-digit, year-to-year gains.
The median price of homes that changed owners during April was $695,000, which was down 0.3 percent from the prior year and only 0.4 percent higher than the March median.
Similarly, the condominium median price of $435,000 was unchanged from a year ago and fell 1.1 percent from March.
“The local median price has softened since its peak of last summer,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Flat or slightly falling prices are the product of the market doing its job, reflecting the reality of buyer resistance and limitations.
“But with rates unexpectedly lower than anticipated along with more active listings to choose from and flat home prices,” he said, “buyers will be tempted to take advantage of this window of opportunity.”
The Association reported a total of 1,261 active listings at the end of April. That was an increase of 8.0 percent, yet because of increased sales represented a mere 1.9-month supply at the current pace of sales.
The supply of homes listed for sale hit a record low in December 2017, but has been steadily increasing since, with the April tally up 53.9 percent from that benchmark low.
“The inventory is still inadequate relative to buyer demand and historical standards,” Johnson said. “yet any increase in supply is good news for prospective buyers, providing more choices and increased leverage.”
Not surprisingly, distressed sales represented a small fraction of total April activity, the Association reported. Standards sales, involving traditional buyers, sellers, and lenders, captured 96.9 percent of all transactions.
There were six foreclosure-related sales, or 0.9 percent of the total, and another six short sales, also 0.9 percent, in which lenders agreed to accept a sale price lower than an outstanding loan balance.
Pending escrows, a gauge of future sales activity, showed 672 open escrows at the end of April. That was down 7.9 percent from April 2018.
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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