The inventory of homes listed for sale in the Santa Clarita Valley increased during February as buyers and sellers adjusted to new realities of the housing market, including diminishing affordability, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday, March 19.
The 71.0 percent increase in inventory to 542 active listings was partly due to homeowners deciding to sell and partly due to slowing home sales. The total represents a 3.0-month supply—more than double the 1.4-month supply of a year ago February—yet remains well short of the desired 6-month inventory.
“A rising inventory brings us closer to a normal market,” said Nancy Starczyk, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “Buyers ability to accept the new realities and sellers willingness to price appropriately will decide how much the market picks up this Spring.”
Starczyk said she was unconcerned about slow February sales, noting that strong demand remains even as homes take a little longer to sell and, unlike a year ago, fewer properties receive multiple offers as buyers adjust to rising prices and slightly higher, though still affordable, interest rates.
A total of 119 single-family homes closed escrow during February in the Santa Clarita Valley, down 22.2 percent from a year ago and off 13.8 percent from the typically slow January. The 60 condominiums that closed escrow were off 13.0 percent from a year ago and 7.7 percent below January. It was the lowest monthly tally since February 2011.
“Vanishing distressed sales and the return of traditional sellers and buyers show the market is stabilizing,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Multiple offers are pretty much gone, there are very few foreclosure-related sales, and short sales have fallen to the lowest level yet.
“It’s going to take a while for everyone to adjust,” Link said, “yet I’m very optimistic that we’ll have a good market this Spring and for the rest of the year, with healthy sales totals and ongoing price increases, but at a much more measured pace.”
Standard sales made up 83.8 percent of the February sales total, Association statistics indicated, while Real Estate Owned sales came in at 6.1 percent and short sales hit a record low of 8.9 percent.
The median price of homes sold last month was $439,500, up 16.0 percent over a year ago and 1.5 percent higher than this January. Monthly prices have been bouncing up and down since peaking in August at $450,000, the highest median recorded since the economic recovery began.
The 60 condominiums that closed escrow had a median price of $276,000, which was up 25.5 percent from February 2013 and 10.4 percent ahead of this January. The condominium median price also has been fluctuating since hitting last year’s peak of $300,000 in July.
Homebuyers would need to earn a minimum annual income of $89,170 to qualify for the purchase of a home priced at $433,940.The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, would be $2,230, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.36 percent.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors® is a local trade association with more than 8,900 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.