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Gains continue in home markets

Posted: November 26, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: November 26, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Sales in all sectors of the SCV home market rose in the month of October, according to reports. Sales in all sectors of the SCV home market rose in the month of October, according to reports.
Sales in all sectors of the SCV home market rose in the month of October, according to reports.

Sales of existing single-family homes in the Santa Clarita Valley jumped 22.2 percent, while the California home sale market showed only modest increases of 3.1 percent in October.

Condominium sales rose 14.9 percent in the SCV.

The newest sales figures were released by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors on Wednesday.

Both existing home and condo sales also posted gains over September, rising 7.3 percent and 28.8 percent, respectively.

Nearly 71 percent of the 491 homes and condos listed for sale during the month sold. Median-priced homes are remaining on the market for two to three months.

October home and condo sales combined were below the 2011 summer numbers, a traditional period when homeowners put their houses on the market.

However, using the record low point in January 2008 as a benchmark, SRAR reported home sales are up 77.8 percent, and condo sales are 174.2 percent.

By comparison, single-family home sales in the San Fernando Valley are up 61.9 percent and condo sales are up 106.7 percent from the record low set in January 2008.

“The people active in today’s market understand the scope of the opportunity,” said Sal Aranda, president of the association’s Santa Clarita Valley division.

“Homes are incredibly affordable and interest rates on home loans have not been this low in decades.”
Santa Clarita’s high desirability as a place to live and its more vibrant local economy lure more local buyers than surrounding communities, Aranda said.


While the market is far from recovered, the California Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales in California were up from the previous year for the sixth consecutive month.

Nearly 54 percent of all sales were equity sales, or sales of homes in which the owners still have equity in their properties, reported CAR.

But the remaining 46 percent of sales represented distressed properties. Of the distressed sales, 20.7 percent were short sales by owners while the remaining 24.9 percent represented bank-owned properties.

“Despite all the challenges the housing market has faced this year, California home sales continue to perform modestly well and should be on pace to match or better last year’s level,” said LeFrancis Arnold, CAR president.

Soft prices

Reflective of the still weak market, however, the median price of single-family homes remains lower than a year ago. Home prices were down 6.7 percent from the prior year for a median price of $364,000.

The median price of a condominium fell 21.8 percent from a year ago, setting a new low for this cycle. Median condo prices in October were $186,900.

The local SCV single-family home market appeared stronger than the San Fernando Valley, where the median price of homes sold last month was $350,000. The median price for an SFV condo was higher than the SCV with the median price of $225,000.

“Until government does something definitively to help housing, the market will improve only slowly,” said Jim Link, the association’s CEO. “People will sit on the sidelines, which is too bad — because some will miss the best opportunity to buy a home in a generation.”

A total of 1,106 properties were listed for sale at the end of the month, down 14.5 percent from a year ago.

At the current pace of sales, the inventory represents a 4.2-month supply, down from 5.9 months a year ago. A five- to six-month supply represents a balanced market.

Pending home sales were up 10.7 percent from October 2010 according to CAR’s pending home sales index. Pending home sales are considered to be indicators of future home sales activity and the direction of the real estate market.


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