Single-family homes sales during July in the Santa Clarita Valley held even with activity reported a year ago and gained 16.3 percent over this June, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Thursday, July 23.
A total of 235 homes closed escrow, down two sales or 0.8 percent from a year ago, but up 33 sales from this June. The 237 sales were the second highest monthly figure since the low point of this market of 99 sales was reported in January 2008.
Condo sales increased 3.5 percent compared to a year ago. A total of 88 condos changed owners, up three sales from a year ago and off a single transaction from the 89 closed escrows reported this June. Condo resales also have been gaining momentum since the low-water mark of 31 transactions in January 2008.
"Realtors report increased buyer interest across the board, although homes priced under $500,000 are the ones seeing the most activity and multiple bids," said Nancy Starczyk, president of the Association's Santa Clarita Valley Division. "Inventory is half of what is was in 2008 while the pool of prospective buyers continues to expand as financing becomes more available."
Starczyk and Jim Link, the Association's chief executive officer, said buyers are willing to compete for favorably priced homes, especially with interest rates still low and the availability of a federal and state tax rebate.
"The primary factor limiting sales right now is the lack of homes listed for sale," Link said. "It's more difficult to qualify for a home loan today, yet the somewhat improved availability of loans becomes moot if you can't find a home to buy."
The active inventory continues to plummet with the 807 listings available at the end of the month off 54.6 percent from the 1,778 listings of July 2008.
At the current pace of sales, the activity inventory represents a mere 2.5-month supply. A year ago the supply at the then current pace of sales was 5.5 months. A balanced market occurs when there is a 5- to 6-month supply.
"The competition in the lower price ranges and steadily emerging sales in higher priced properties have the effect of firming up the median price," Starczyk said. "There's still uncertainty out there, but prices appear to have bottomed out."
The median price of the 235 homes that sold last month in the Santa Clarita Valley was $410,000, down 7.0 percent from a year ago and equal to the median reported in June.
The median has been above $400,000 in all but one month since the low point for this cycle of $385,000 was reported in December 2008.
Price declines from the prior year have been getting smaller with July being the second consecutive month the decline was in single-digit territory after 16 months of double-digit drops with the largest being 27.0 percent in December 2008.
The 88 condos that changed owners last month had a median price of $218,900, down 23.2 percent from a year ago and off 5.8 percent from the June 2009 median. The median has been steadily rising since the record low median of $205,000 was posted this January.
Pending escrows – a measure of future resale activity – increased 11.0 percent from a year ago. There were 425 open escrows at the end of July; a year ago there were 385.The Southland Regional Association of Realtors is a local trade association comprised of more than 10,000 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.