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Santa Clarita Valley June home sales dip

Posted: July 25, 2014 6:41 p.m.
Updated: July 25, 2014 6:41 p.m.
Home sales dipped in June but median prices are holding steady. Above, a home listed for sale in Saugus in July. Home sales dipped in June but median prices are holding steady. Above, a home listed for sale in Saugus in July.
Home sales dipped in June but median prices are holding steady. Above, a home listed for sale in Saugus in July.

Home sales sputtered slightly in June, although the increasing number of existing homes listed for sale are beginning to pull the Santa Clarita Valley out of the “inventory drought” it had been in during the recession.

The 190 single-family homes sold in June were down from the 210 sales reported in May and April and nearly on par with the 199 homes sold in June 2013, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Friday.

Sales of condominiums were up by three in June over May. Realtors closed escrow on 97 condos; however, that number was down from the 104 sold in June 2013.

Sales were highest in Valencia, Saugus and Canyon Country, respectively.

“There’s a lot of activity out there, which made me expect closed escrows to come in much higher,” said Nancy Starczyk, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the realty association. “Even though we’re in a highly competitive transitional phase, I believe home sales will stay strong, which bodes well for the future.”

In fact, median prices are holding steady.

Single-family homes sold for a median price of $481,000 in June, and condos sold for $290,000. Both types of sales are up 11.9 percent and 10.3 percent from June 2013.

Overall, prices are the highest since 2009.

As for the slight slowdown in sales, increased inventory is giving buyers slightly more leverage to negotiate.

“Sellers have tried to continue the rise in prices from last year and there is some ‘push back’ in the market, meaning the buyers overall are not biting at the higher prices,” said Dwight Hawkins with Realty Executives.

In the past seven days there were 100 new listings and 110 prices changes, and all sales prices went down except on 17 homes, Hawkins said.

“We are seeing more inventory than has been on the market for a while in the SCV cities,” said Connor MacIvor with Re/Max.

But the market is still healthy, according to Sam Heller with Keller Williams VIP Properties.

“Do not confuse not being desperate to buy or sell with not being healthy,” Heller said.

Bob Khalsa with United American Realty agreed.

“The market is healthy. There are no wild fluctuations in prices (up or down), and interest rates are low and stable,” Khalsa said.

Other factors slowing home sales in June include fewer buyers qualifying as a result of stricter lending requirements, and appraisals still coming in too low to match the seller’s listing prices, he said.

The conservative appraisal is causing some blowback, Hawkins said. It causes some homes to have to go back on the market when a buyer’s lender won’t approve a loan at the agreed-upon sales price.

“The appraisal comes in low and sometimes the seller and buyer will negotiate again,” he said. “The sellers want the buyers to bring in money over the appraisal, and sometimes they can’t come to terms.”

One sales number did spike, however, and that was for properties listed as a short sale. Unlike a traditional home sale, in a short sales the seller owes more on the mortgage than the home is worth on today’s market.

Short sales jumped to 9.1 percent of the total sales in June, up from 4.6 percent in May.

“We are now seeing those who have been trying to hang on to their homes by the tips of their fingers losing their grip and finally short-selling,” Heller said.

“They (the sellers) tried to wait for the market to come up to cover their current mortgage amount, plus cover selling closing costs. Although the rise in prices was faster than many expected, they were not fast enough or high enough to save everyone.”




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