Realtors closed escrow on 210 single-family homes during May, up 7.1 percent from a year ago and equal to the figure reported this April, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Thursday, June 19.
It was the second time this year sales exceeded 200 and the highest tally since July when 221 homes changed owners.
Condominium sales of 94 units were off 8.7 percent from May 2013, but up 6.8 percent over April. Condominium sales this year have yet to break 100 and are lagging behind year ago figures, which peaked in August with 129 sales.
“Home sales are coming in stronger than expected, which bodes well for the summer home buying season,” said Nancy Starczyk, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “Condo sales are lagging partly because too many HOA boards of directors have not taken steps to be qualified for buyers to receive FHA loans and also due to affordability issues as resale prices rise.”
The condominium median price of $281,000 reported this May was up 19.6 percent from 12 months ago and 5.8 percent higher than this April. The condominium median—the point at which half the sales were higher and half lower—peaked last year at $300,000 and has been bouncing around below that figure ever since.
The May single-family median price of $485,000 was up 15.3 percent from a year ago and unchanged from this April. It was the highest post recession median since February 2008 and up 42.6 percent from the record low of $340,000 set in November 2011. The record high of $643,000 came in April 2006.
“Rising resale prices helps many owners, but also raise affordability issues, which restrict the pool of prospective buyers,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “Yet Santa Clarita is a highly desirable community which is outperforming other regions of the state. Even inventory is slowly growing, which expands options for buyers and reflects renewed optimism in the housing market.”
A total of 663 active listings was reported at the end of May, up 74.0 percent over a year ago. It was the highest inventory since April 2012 and has been slowly climbing from the recession-induced record low of 312 in 2013. At the current pace of sales the inventory represents a 2.2-month supply; a 6-month supply is needed for a balanced market.
Link and Starczyk noted that the market continues to stabilize as traditional buyers return in number, investors move to the sidelines, and distressed sales approach pre-recession levels.
Standard sales, involving traditional home buyers, came in at the highest mark on record — 89.8 percent of combined residential sales.
Foreclosure-related sales were at 4.3 percent, while short payoffs fell to a record low 4.6 percent, a considerable drop from April when short sales captured 8.1 percent of the market.
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.