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Home sales in SCV slightly better

February house and condo sales up compared to January.

Posted: April 3, 2008 5:41 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2008 5:05 a.m.
While home sales in Santa Clarita Valley continue to remain at an overall low when compared to previous years, there was an increase in the number of transactions for single-family homes and condominiums between January and February, according to a report from the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.
A total of 115 single-family homes closed escrow during February.

This number is 60 transactions lower than February 2007, but represents a 16.2 percent increase compared to the record-low 99 transactions that closed escrow in January, according to the report.

"Business has definitely picked up compared to December and January," said Doreen Chastain-Shine, president of the association's Santa Clarita Valley Division, in a statement. "We're seeing more interest from buyers and more transactions going into escrow."

Chastain-Shine attributes the effect of lower prices and interest rates paired with the initiatives by the federal government as possible reasons for the changes between January and February.

The trend continues with condominiums, as a total of 37 condos closed escrow in February, which is down 58 percent from a year ago, according to the report.

At the same time, the association reports that the condominium sales for February is up 19.4 percent from the record low of 31 sales set in January.

Pending escrows, which the association believes to be a reliable measure of future resale activity, were down 30.4 percent from 2007, but increased 25.1 percent on a month-to-month basis.

"It's too soon to say with any certainty that we've hit bottom, but it is encouraging to see that buyers are returning to the market," said Jim Link, executive vice president for the association, in a statement. "Initial offers may come in quite a bit lower than the list prices, but what's important is that there is an offer on the table."

The pattern seen in single-family homes and condo sales also relates to the median prices.

The association reports that the median price of 115 homes that closed escrow was $490,000, which is down 14 percent from a year ago, but up 6.5 percent from January.

The record high of $643,000 was set in April 2006.

The median price of the 37 condos was $309,000, down 14.6 percent from last year, but up 8.5 percent from January.

The condo record high remains at $397,000, set in January 2006.

With an active inventory of 2,182 at the end of February, the association reports that it is still a buyer's market, although the number is up 3.6 percent from a year ago and less than 1 percent ahead of January.
At the current pace of sales, the inventory represents a 14.4-month supply.


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