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Snapshot shows signs of recovery

There are positive indicators for a turnaround in parts of the real estate market, according to an S

Posted: May 9, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 9, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The economic snapshot report for February was released Tuesday by the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., reflecting signs of local recovery amid some areas of economic activity that are still depressed.

Real Estate

Progress was shown in the local real estate market, according to the SCVEDC report. Single family home sales in the SCV rose 19 percent above February 2011 to a total of 138 homes. Citywide, home sales rose 21 percent over the prior year, accounting for 105 of the total homes sold.

Median home prices SCV remained unchanged over the prior year, a positive sign for the SCV. Within the city, however, prices slipped another 10 percent to $371,000.

Condominium sales, however, saw marginal growth with a 4 percent increase in the SCV, and 2 percent increase in the city. Median prices dropped substantially in both areas.

Local Realtors say the lack of condos approved for FHA-backed loans is hurting the market for both sellers and buyers.

And in the fourth quarter of 2011, apartment vacancy rates dropped to 5.5 percent from 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. Average rents of $1,426 remain below those in comparable cities.


Hotel occupancy rates in February were 70 percent, up from 64 percent in the same month of 2011, accounting for the increase in the transient occupancy taxes collected by the city of Santa Clarita. The city collected $169.917 in taxes, up 16 percent from February 2011.

The same report, however, cited a slight decrease of 1 percent in room rates.


One of the city's bright spots of economic activity, filming, slowed down in February. Film permits and filming days dropped 23 and 15 percent respectively from February 2011.

The soft period resulted in a 5 percent drop of the estimated economic impact on the area with projected revenue dropping to $1.3 million for the month.

Television shows and commercials accounted for 75 percent of the shoots in February.

Sales taxes

The SCVEDC also reported sales tax revenues generated for the city rose 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter 2011 over the same period in 2010. Sales tax revenue was $7.04 million, up from $6.61 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

A slightly improved employment rate may have added to the high sales tax revenues.

The city's unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in February, compared to 7.6 percent a year ago. Santa Clarita's rate sits far below the 12.1 percent rate in Los Angeles County and 11.4 percent in California.

Commercial real estate

Still lagging behind in the recovery is the commercial real estate market. Despite the numbers, the SCVEDC reports, however, that the vacancy rates are continuing to trend downward.

No new permits were issued in February and tenant improvement permits dropped nearly by half. Permits for commercial alterations were down 28 percent from the prior year.

Certificates of occupancy for retail and office space, however, were nearly even with February 2011. Eight certificates were issued in February 2011 compared to nine the year before.

The total number of square feet occupied by those permits, however, was much less than the prior year. In 2012, 34,916 square feet were recorded compared with 53,755 square feet in 2011.

A reflection of the job market, office vacancies remain high with a rate of 17.1 percent in the SCV and 15.6 percent within the city.

Retail vacancies were down to 6.6 percent and 6 percent respectively in the region and within the city limits.

Industrial vacancies are subpar in terms of having available space for businesses to expand or move into the area. The SCVEDC reports vacancy rates of 3.7 percent and 4.1 percent within the region and the city respectively.





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