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Report: Jobs, housing gains slow, but positive

Posted: June 7, 2012 9:07 p.m.
Updated: June 7, 2012 9:07 p.m.

Jobs and housing are cited as leading indicators of a recovery, both segments showing hints of positive growth in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to a March economic report.

The March Economic Snapshot report, released by the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation on Thursday reflected slow, but positive gains in both jobs and housing.

Single-family home sales in SCV were up 30 percent over February, and an increase of 9 percent over March 2011, with a total of 180 homes sold. Median home values rose 6 percent to $378,100 in March over February, but edged up less than 1 percent over prices set in March 2011.

Within the city of Santa Clarita, however, the SCVEDC reported single-family homes sales were up 32 percent over February, but 8 percent below March 2011. Average home values of $401,400 are up 8 percent over February, but 8 percent below March 2011. Locally, Realtors say a lack of inventory has begun dragging home sales down.

Condominium sales in the SCV of 67 units are mixed with sales rising 21 percent in March over February, but down 9 percent from March 2011 the SCVEDC reported. Median values decreased 2 percent to $199,000 from February, and 19 percent from March 2011.

On the job front, the city’s unemployment rate crept down to 7.3 percent in March compared to 7.5 percent from a year ago. Still, the local rate rests far below 11.9 percent in Los Angeles County and 11.5 percent in California.

Trade, transportation and utility industries account for the largest number of employees at 19 percent, with the leisure and hospitality industries accounting for 16 percent, and manufacturing and business and professional services tie at 13 percent with education and health services coming in at 10 percent.

Enterprise Zone
The Santa Clarita Enterprise Zone is credited for the creation of 158 new jobs in March and with saving local businesses $5.92 million, the SCVEDC reported.

And expansion of the valley-wide enterprise zone program was approved April 9, allowing businesses to now take advantage of tax credits retroactively to Jan. 1, 2011.

Other indicators
Other economic indicators reported in the March Economic Snapshot summary include commercial space vacancies for the first quarter of 2012. The SCV’s office vacancy rate was 17.1 percent and retail and industrial vacancy rates were 6.6 percent and 3.7 percent respectively. The industrial vacancy rate is very low according to experts and poses a dilemma in attracting larger companies to the SCV.

Hotel occupancy rates of 75 percent gained only 1 percent in March over the same period in 2011 according to the report, and average daily room rates decreased 1 percent. The transient occupancy taxes collected by the city of

Santa Clarita, however, were up 3 percent from March 2011.

Location filming dropped 5 percent in March. Thirty-six film permits were issued in March representing 92 filming days compared to 101 filming days in March 2011. Television accounted for 52 percent of local filming and commercials 28 percent. The SCVEDC reported the estimated economic impact of filming, in which revenue flows to local businesses, at more than $1.9 million March.

Sales tax revenues that the city of Santa Clarita is eligible to collect were reported as being up 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 over the same period in 2010. The city collected $7.04 million in tax revenue for the fourth quarter.


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