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October home prices hit low

Economy: Condo prices on the rise; low home loan interest rates, due to affordable resale prices

Posted: November 29, 2010 9:57 p.m.
Updated: November 30, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Home prices and home sales in the Santa Clarita Valley declined last month, with October’s median price reaching its lowest since the start of the recession, according to recent figures.

Condominium sales, on the contrary, went up, pushed by affordable resale prices and attractive interest rates on home loans.

However, the market is expected to slow as the holidays approach, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

Home sales were down 26.9 percent from a year ago, with 144 single-family homes changing hands last month, the association said. The median price of single-family homes sold last month was $390,000, down 7.1 percent from a year ago, when it was $420,000.

“Many prospective home buyers are taking a wait-and-see attitude about the direction of the economy,” Jim Link, the association’s chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

Link said the uncertainty about the economy, tighter loan qualifying standards and difficulty landing loans influenced the sales slowdown.

But for those who can get a loan, it is a great time to buy, he said.

The condominium market shows different dynamics. With 74 condominiums sold last month, the increase in sales was 1.4 percent from the last year and 138.7 percent since the low point of the recession — 31 condos sold in January 2008.

The October’s condo median price of $239,000 was up 1.7 percent from a year ago and 9.1 percent ahead of the September median.

“It’s often cheaper to buy a condo rather than rent an apartment,” Andrew Walter, president of the Santa Clarita Valley division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors, said in a written statement.

Walter said the trend was set by low condo resale prices and low interest rates on loans.

“Renting costs more today partly because former home owners who were displaced due to foreclosure have put pressure on rentals, pushing rental prices up,” he said.

There were 1,294 active listings at the end of October, up 77.5 percent from last year’s 729.


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