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May home sales down in the SCV

Loss of federal credits nicks incentive

Posted: June 24, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Updated: June 24, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Home sales in the Santa Clarita Valley were down in May, with Realtors pointing to limited inventory and the expiration of federal tax credits.

Realtors closed escrow on 196 single-family homes in May, down 10.9 percent from May 2009, according to a Wednesday news release by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

The May total was also down 8.4 percent from April's total of 214 sales.

"There are definitely fewer buyers now that the $8,000 federal tax credit has expired," said Andrew Walter, president of the association's Santa Clarita Valley division. "More importantly, some buyers have decided to wait until the choice of homes available improves."

At the end of May there were 977 active listings in the valley, down 3.3 percent from a year ago, the association reported.

The current pace of sales represents a roughly three-month supply, an indicator that tips negotiations in favor of sellers.

Compare that to May 2008 when the valley saw a roughly 6 1/2 month supply.

The median price of a single-family home in May was $410,000, up 2.5 percent from May 2009 but down 2.4 percent from April.

While the median condominium price - $240,000 - was unchanged between last month and May 2009, it was up 8.6 percent from the April median of $221,000.

Real estate agents are hoping California's new tax credit - offering first-time and/or new home buyers up to a $10,000 incentive - will offset the loss of the federal credits.

By June 15 the state had received more than 15,200 applications for the first-time buyer program and about 5,600 for the new home credit, the association reported.

If approved, those applications would account, respectively, for $78 million and $36 million of the programs, each of which is capped at $100 million.

"There are plenty of people out there who want to buy a home, but all they can do is compete over each new listing and wait to see if the supply starts to increase," association CEO Jim Link said.


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