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SCV home sales increase as seasonal spring sales pick up

Posted: April 21, 2014 4:08 p.m.
Updated: April 21, 2014 4:08 p.m.

Both single-family home and condominium sales increased in the Santa Clarita Valley in March compared to February sales, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors announced Monday.

In addition, home prices continued to rise locally. The median price of a single-family home in March hit $462,000, up 10 percent over March 2013 and 5.5 percent over February’s prices. It was the highest median price since April 2008.

Fewer homes were sold compared to a year ago, however, when investors flooded the market, knocking would-be buyers out of the running as they snapped up distressed properties.

Foreclosed and short-sale home sales accounted for only 3.7 percent and 7.3 percent of the market, respectively, in March. One year ago those homes represented 38 percent of all sales.

“I’m pleased to see that activity is up compared to February,” said Nancy Starczyk, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “There is a growing optimism among buyers and sellers as they see that economic conditions are improving.

“Great strides have been taken, yet it will take more time to fully recover from a deep recession and a realignment of housing and lending rules,” Starczyk said.

Another positive sign is that inventory continues to improve. A year ago, even with all the distressed properties still on the market, there were only 312 active listing of homes for sale in March.

This year, there were 590 homes actively listed for sale in March. The increase represents a 2.7-month supply of available homes to buy. A six-month supply is considered to be a healthy market in which neither the buyer nor the seller has an advantage over the other in a transaction.

Both Starczyk and Jim Link, the association’s chief executive officer, agree that the market conditions have changed from a year ago due to tightened lending standards and the departure of most investor-buyers.

Traditional buyers — those who want a home to live in, not to “flip” or rent out — accounted for a record high 87.6 percent of all transactions closed by Realtors during March. One year ago, traditional buyers made up only 61.4 percent of those who purchased a home.

Pending sales — a measure of future sales activity — were up 6.5 percent from a year ago.

“I’m optimistic,” Link said, “but I truly believe we’re in a holding pattern, waiting for buyers to accept that they cannot get bargain-basement prices and for sellers to understand there is a clear limit to their asking prices.”

The realty association’s SCV market numbers represent the areas of Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Castaic, Newhall, Saugus, Stevenson Ranch and Valencia.



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