Sales of single-family homes and condominiums fell sharply during April in the Santa Clarita Valley as the region grappled with the “safer at home” orders implemented to halt the spread of the novel Coronavirus Pandemic, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® reported on Thursday, May 14.
REALTORS® assisted the close of escrow of 166 single-family homes last month compared to 214 sales reported in April 2019, a decline of 22.4 percent. While a steep drop, it was not the record low, which was reported in January 2008 with 99 closed escrows.
Condominium closed escrows plunged dramatically during April with the 62 transactions down 40.4 percent compared to a year ago. The record low of 31 condo sales was set also in January 2008, the depths of the Great Recession.
The Coronavirus Pandemic and shutdown of the local economy also impacted the number of properties listed for sale on the Association’s Multiple Listing Service. The 410 new listings were down 31.7 percent from April 2019.
“The stay at home orders impacted everyone, and a steep drop in listings suggest sales in the coming month will be severely limited,” said Louisa Henry, the 2020 chair of the Santa Clarita Division of the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS®. “Listings had been very low long before the pandemic hit home, so despite the sharp drop in April, the total was still the highest since December, which saw a record low inventory of 293 active listings.”
Henry said the vitality of the local residential real estate market hinges on what happens going forward with listings and pending sales.
Open escrows — a measure of future sales activity — totaled 190 pending transactions, which was a 41.7 percent drop from the prior year.
“Substantive improvements in the local home resale statistics depends on how and when stay at home orders are eased or lifted,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “There was pent-up demand for housing before the Coronavirus. No doubt, even more people will be looking for housing when the threat recedes.”
The median price — the point at which half the sales were higher and half lower — of single-family homes that changed owners last month was $630,000. That was up 3.6 percent from April 2019 and 2.0 percent below the record high of $643,000, which was set in April 2006.
The condominium median price of $385,000 was down 6.1 percent from a year ago and 8.3 percent below its record high of $420,000, which came in August and again in October 2019.
Even though the $630,000 home median price was well above the $608,200 reported last year, low interest rates meant that the income needed to qualify for an 80 percent loan was lower by 5.5 percent.
The Association’s Income-to-Loan Guide found the income needed to qualify for a $504,000 loan was $122,633. The national average available interest rate during April as reported by Freddie Mac of 3.31 percent yielded a monthly housing payment of $3,066, with $2,210 going to the loan’s principal and interest, $656 to the monthly share of property tax, and $200 the share of the premium for home insurance.
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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