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SCV home prices continue to creep upward

Inventory rises as market normalizes

Posted: March 19, 2014 5:32 p.m.
Updated: March 19, 2014 5:32 p.m.

Prices of existing homes increased slightly during February while home sales during the winter season slowed, according to numbers released Wednesday for the Santa Clarita Valley by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

For the most part, investors have stopped snapping up homes and the inventory of local homes listed for sale has risen to a three-month supply. A six-month supply represents a balanced market in which neither the buyer nor the seller has the advantage.

Standard sales in which owners had some equity in their homes accounted for nearly 84 percent of all February sales in the Santa Clarita Valley, the association reported.

There were 542 homes listed for sale in the SCV last month, compared to 317 in February 2013.

“A rising inventory brings us closer to a normal market,” said Nancy Starczyk, president of the SCV division of the realty association. “Buyers’ ability to accept the new realities and sellers’ willingness to price appropriately will decide how much the market picks up this spring.”

Slower February sales aren’t really a concern, Starczyk told the media. There is still strong demand, and there are fewer multiple offers now that the market is normalizing.

February recorded 119 sales of existing single-family homes and 60 condominiums. Home sales were 13.8 percent less than in January, and condo sales were 7.7 percent lower. It was the lowest monthly tally since February 2011, the realty group said.

“Vanishing distressed sales and the return of traditional sellers and buyers show the market is stabilizing,” said Jim Link, the association’s chief executive officer.

It’s going to take a while for sellers and buyers to adjust, but Link is very optimistic that the SCV will have a good market this spring and for the rest of the year. There will be healthy sales totals and ongoing price increases, but at a much more measured pace, he said.

Prices crept up yet again in February, pushing the affordability index higher for entry-level buyers.

The median price of homes in the SCV sold last month was $439,500. That is the second highest price since August 2008, when the local home market crashed, according to numbers released by the realty association.

Homebuyers would need to earn a minimum annual income of $89,170 to qualify for the purchase of a home priced at $433,940, according to the realty group.

That reality has probably led to rising condo sales in the past year. Condo median prices were $276,000 in February.




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