A total of 326 single-family homes and 137 condominiums changed owners during January with both totals up from a year ago even as the supply of properties listed for sale stayed near a record low, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS reported on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
Closed escrows of homes were 8.3 percent higher while condo sales improved 45.7 percent compared to the record low of 94 condo sales reported in January 2019.
“Low interest rates on home loans fueled the market for much of last year,” said Nancy Troxell Carnahan, president of the Association. “That momentum carried over into January but faces headwinds from economic uncertainties and the low supply of homes and condos listed for sales.”
The Association reported 787 properties active on its MLS, which was down 39.6 percent from a year ago and just 17 listings higher than the record low 770 listings reported in December.
At the current pace of sales, the listing total represented a 1.7-month supply in a market where a 4- to 5-month supply is needed to ease upward pressure on home prices.
For comparison, the highest monthly listing total during the early 2000s was 7,730 active listing in October 2007 — which was a 16.0-month supply — and the record high of 14,976 set in July 1992, which was a 17.6-month supply.
“Buyers are eager to stretch their buying power by capturing today’s already low and still falling interest rates,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “But the limited number of listings may be a cold splash of reality that stalls their buying dreams.
“At a minimum,” he said, “buyers need to make sure their financial house is in order so that they’re ready to make an offer as soon as a property they like comes on the market.”
The median price — meaning half sold for more and half for less — of the 326 homes that sold came in at $740,000. That was up 9.6 percent from a year ago and just 2.0 percent below the record high of $755,000 set in October.
Every month since June has seen the home median price above the $700,000 benchmark.
The condominium median price of $430,000 was down 3.4 percent from a year ago and 7.7 percent below the record high of $455,000 established in June and again in August.
REALTORS reported a total of 14 distressed property sales during January, nine foreclosure-related transactions and five short sales where the lender agrees to a price lower than the outstanding loan balance. Nine foreclosure-related sales have not been seen since 2017.
As is typical for this time of year as the spring buying season approaches, pending sales — a measure of future activity — were up with 542 properties in escrow at the end of the month. That was 20.4 percent higher than this time a year ago.
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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