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Santa Clarita Valley home sales soften in July

Rising inventory shifts from a seller to a buyer advantage

Posted: August 25, 2014 4:36 p.m.
Updated: August 25, 2014 4:36 p.m.

Median prices and home sales softened in July as the number of Santa Clarita Valley homes listed for sale shot up nearly 50 percent over the prior year, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.

Realtors say, however, that the increased number of listings is part of an improving real estate market in which owners have more equity in their homes and can get moving again.

“Whenever you have an increase in listings, it’s due to confidence in many areas of the marketplace,” said Realtor Kathy Salisbury.

While the median price of single-family homes was down from June, prices are still up over 2013, the realty group reported. Condominium median prices were also off slightly from June and down from July 2013, when they hit their highest prices since 2007.

The number of homes sold in July was up over June. And the number of condos sold in July was the same number sold in June. Fewer homes and condos sold in July, however, than in the same period in 2013.

Activity for both home sales and prices are fluctuating from month to month Both types of homes are fluctuating even as both hover near their respective seven-year highs, the realty group reported.

“The rapid price rise had to moderate,” said Nancy Starczyk, president of the Association’s Santa Clarita Valley Division. “Each tick up in prices locked more prospective buyers out of the market. Some owners still mistakenly expect prices to keep going up, up and up, yet that’s not realistic.”

Starczyk believes most owners now understand today’s market dynamics, resulting in an increase in the number of homes listed for sale and a much more stable, sustainable residential resale market.

Nearly 200 more homes were listed for sale in July 2014 compared to last year. According to the numbers released Monday, there were 538 listings in July, compared to 360 in July 2013.

Since the market has leveled off, homeowners are confident they can find what they are looking for in a replacement home, said Realtor Erika Kauzlarich-Bird. There was less inventory on the market last year, and homeowners were hesitant to list their own homes for sale lest they are unable to find a new home to buy.

At the current pace of sales, the number of homes for sale represents a 2.3-month supply, up from last year’s 1.5-month inventory. That’s a 47.6 percent jump from the prior year.

Part of the inventory increase involves more people being able to qualify for home loans.

“More homeowners had issues with their credit last year,” said Realtor Bob Khalsa. “This prevented them from getting qualified for a new loan to buy and thus prevented them from selling in the first place.”

The increased inventory is also causing a shift in the marketplace, said Realtor Connor MacIvor.

“For a long while the market has been a solid sellers’ real estate market,” MacIvor said. “The increased inventory of homes for sale coupled with the increased days or market time frames indicates a slow shift from a sellers’ to a buyers’ real estate market.”

Another shift is taking place as well, according to Realtor Sam Heller. People who were able to weather the real estate slump are just ready to sell and move on now, he said. Realtor Mike Lebecki agrees.

“A lot of our folks are selling again to move out of state. All of my sellers retiring are going to Texas or Tennessee,” Lebecki said. “The younger crowd is still buying here.”

Also, there are fewer first-time homebuyers, according to the National Association of Realtors, said Realtor Paul Gonzales. A number of factors — including post-college jobs, confidence, and tightened lending standards — have affected the younger generation.

“‘The Millenniums’ are the prospective buyer. They are starting out later and we are seeing a lag in the engagement,” Gonzales said. “A vigorous real estate market depends on a constant influx of first-timers, but how can buying appeal to this group when wages are down and prospects are iffy?”




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