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Home sales: Up, up & away

• SCV's numbers soar during May

Posted: June 27, 2008 1:54 a.m.
Updated: August 28, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Sales of existing single-family homes in the Santa Clarita Valley continued their rebound in May with more than 200 homes closing escrow, according to a Thursday report from the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

Despite the improvement for single-family home sales, condominium sales remain slow while the inventory of homes for sale is dropping and inching closer towards a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

During the month of May, Realtors closed escrow on 220 homes, a 22.9 percent increase from a year ago and a 23.6 percent jump from April, according to the association. May represents the fifth consecutive month of gains in home sales for the Santa Clarita Valley.

May also marks the first time since June 2007 that more than 200 homes sold in a single month.

"Sales activity is picking up," Doreen Chastain-Shine, president of the association's Santa Clarita Valley division said in a statement. "Agents are reporting that a lot of people are coming through open houses, a lot of people are looking for a home."

The median price of the single-family homes sold during May fell by 14.1 percent from a year ago to $450,000. April's median price was $480,000.

The condominium median price of $305,000 was down 14.1 percent from a year ago, but up 9.3 percent from April's median price of $279,000, according to the association.

The group called condominium sales for May "sluggish" because they believe that buyers are focusing on purchasing single-family homes that are being offered at favorable prices.

The association explains that while home loans are available, most loans require a down payment and borrowers must show proof of income and the ability to repay the loan. This means that the pool of qualified buyers is limited.

"Buyers should not turn their backs on traditional buyers thinking that a foreclosure or short pay always offers the best opportunity," Link said. "Traditional sales can be completed faster, buyers have more ability to request repairs, and sellers typically are more willing to negotiate."

Pending sales, which the association uses as a future resale activity, increased 19 percent from a year ago to a total of 339 open escrows.

Despite the increase from 2007, pending sales fell 11 percent from April.

A total of 1,946 properties were listed for sale throughout the Santa Clarita Valley at the end of May, which is down 13.1 percent from a year ago and 3.4 percent lower than April.

The inventory represents a 6.6-month supply. The association believes a balanced market is when the inventory is between a 5 to 6 month supply.

"Despite media reports suggesting otherwise, we're not seeing a flood of inventory locally," Chastain-Shine said. "I really do believe the worst is past."


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