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Santa Clarita Valley: Home sales continue upward climb

Inventory eases and prices still increase

Posted: August 26, 2013 1:33 p.m.
Updated: August 26, 2013 1:33 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - After more than a year of falling inventory, Santa Clarita saw the first year-over-year gain in the number of homes listed for sale in July.

And while the inventory increase of .04 percent was small, single-family and condominium home sales posted strong gains in July, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.

Inventory levels had been posting double-digit decreases every month since September 2011, association officials said. Many months recorded declines of 60 percent or more in the number of homes listed for sale on the open market.

Meantime, median prices of both single-family homes and condominiums broke records in July, hitting highs last set five and six years ago.

The July median price for a single-family home of $430,000 was last seen in October 2008.

Condo prices of $300,000 in July broke the median price for 2007.

And with the inventory crunch easing a bit, more single-family homes sold this July than in the same month during the past four years.

Some 221 homes sold in July — on par with 235 homes sold in 2009.

But the real record-setter was for condominiums — it’s been seven years since condo sales reached 117 in July.

Although condo sales for the year peaked in 2005, 0122 condo sales in July were last recorded in 2006.

For both single-family homes and condos, sales are up considerably over record lows set in January 2008, when only 99 single-family homes sold and 31 condos sold.

Median prices for condos in July set a six-year high when they hit $300,000. The last time they topped that number in July was in 2007, when median condo prices were $318,000.

Median home prices also hit a five-year high since 2008. Median prices for single-family homes in July were $430,000. They last hit that mark five years ago in October 2008.

“Overall, it’s a fine housing market, with solid improvements in all categories,” said Bob Khalsa, president of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors’ SCV division.

Despite some lingering problems, Khalsa said, demand remains high, inventory shows signs of improving, and fewer distressed properties are on the market with fewer underwater owners. Traditional buyers are returning in force.

Another telltale sign of a gradually recovering housing market is the increase in standard sales — those in which the owner has equity in his or her home. Standard sales have more than doubled within the past 12 months.
Standard sales in July accounted for nearly 77 percent of all home sales — up from only 34 percent a year ago in 2012.

Also in July, lender-owned home sales dropped nearly in half. Such sales only reached 5.3 percent in July — down from 10.2 percent a year ago.

Even short sales — in which an owner sells his home for less than is owed on it — dropped in July.

The share of short-sale homes sold in July was 17.5 percent — down from 24 percent a year ago.

The local market is on the right track and distressed sales will continue to diminish, said Jim Link, the association’s chief executive officer. The market is approaching a normal, healthy level, he said.

“Even with inventory still extremely tight, we’re not going to see any frenzy that drives prices to wild heights,” Link said.




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