Local buyers are staying busier than usual during the closing months of 2016 with single-family home sales up 9.0 percent in November compared to a year ago, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday, Dec. 23.
A total 458 homes changed owners and an additional 161 condominiums closed escrow, an increase of 4.5 percent over November 2014 condo sales.
Both categories followed typical seasonal trends with month-to-month numbers posting drops in sales of 12.4 percent and 23.0 percent, respectively.
“With sales slowing throughout much of California, higher local activity is a testament to the high demand for and desirability of San Fernando Valley housing,” said Gaye Rainey, president of the 9,500-member Southland Regional Association of Realtors.
“It appears the recent implementation of new disclosure rules has had little or no impact on local sales activity,” Rainey said, noting that the new rules have impacted activity in other regions. “Even if the integrated disclosure rules slow sales the effect will vanish once Realtors, buyers and sellers get used to completing tasks on an earlier schedule.”
The median price of local homes sold during November came in at $535,000, down less than 1 percent from a year ago. The Valley home price peaked in July with a median of $600,000 and has been drifting lower since. While only a small drop, November marked the first time since February 2012 that the year-to-year median price was lower than the prior year.
The condominium median resale price for November of $367,500 increased 13.1 percent compared with November 2014. The condo price peak of $370,000 came in August, which was the highest since December 2007.
Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer, believes the recent increase in the federal funds rate will have negligible impact on housing market interest rates or sales.
“Even with affordability a growing issue, the hike announced by the Federal Reserve was small enough to have minimal impact,” Link said, “yet just enough that it might prompt buyers to get busy before rates move even higher.”
The busy November appears likely to continue through the final month of the year. Pending sales, a measure of future resale activity, was 7.1 percent higher than 2014. Typically, pending sales fall off with the approach of cool, wet weather and holidays.
Other than affordability issues, a lack of inventory continues to limit resale activity. There were 1,464 active listings throughout the San Fernando Valley at the end of November, down 16.1 percent from a year ago.
At the current pace of sales, that represented a 2.4-month supply, compared to last November’s 3.0-month inventory and the desired 6-month supply that would yield a balanced market.
Distressed sales appeared to have negligible impact on the local market; foreclosure-related REOs accounted for 2.6 percent of the total 619 combined sales; short sales came in at 3.9 percent; and traditional standard sales held a 92.4 percent market share during November.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors® is a local trade association with more than 9,500 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.