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Permit pace reflects slow growth

Posted: July 15, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: July 15, 2012 1:30 a.m.

The pace of economic recovery in the Santa Clarita Valley slowed down, according to an April economic report.

The April Economic Snapshot report, released by the SCV Economic Development Corp., or SCVEDC, on Friday did note ongoing gains in a few of the economic indicators, but most key areas of growth slowed.

Commercial activity
No new permits for commercial space were issued in April, down one permit in 2011. And permits for tenant improvements or alterations were down from March and from April 2011.

The city of Santa Clarita issued eight building permits for tenant improvements, down from 11 in March and 15 in April 2011. The city also issued 31 permits for commercial alterations, down from 34 in March but up from 28 permits in April 2011.

Bright spots in the commercial market included an increase in the Certificates of Occupancy in which seven were issued compared to 3 in April 2011.

Also, vacancy rates declined in office, retail and industrial space. Retail use of space marked the greatest growth.

In the housing market, April home sales dropped 2 percent and 4 percent respectively from March and from a year ago in April 2011. Median home values slipped 1 percent from the prior month.

By May, however, local home sales rebounded, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors in which sales rose 7.5 percent over April and 5.7 percent over 2011.

The SCVEDC did report healthy increases for April in both condominium sales and prices. April sales rose 51 percent over March, and 53 percent over April 2011. Median values rose 3 percent over the prior month.

Local apartment vacancy rates dropped at a faster rate compared to all other communities in the metropolitan Los Angeles area.

Rental rates declined nearly two percent in the first quarter of 2012 over 2011. Vacancy rates were 5.3 percent his year compared to 7 percent in 2011.

Average rents of $1,456 remain below those in Burbank and considerably lower than Pasadena, two comparable cities the SCVEDC uses to measure the SCV’s economic health against.

General Indicators
Locally, the unemployment rate of 6.8 percent came in far lower than the figures of 11 percent for Los Angeles County and 10.5 percent for California. The April rate is lower than the 7.2 percent recorded in the same period from 2011.

Filming activity was down across the board in all categories in the month of April, according to the SCVEDC. Film permits issued by the city of Santa Clarita were down 32 percent from the prior year, and actual film days were down 53 percent from the same period in 2011.

The estimated economic impact from location filming was down 45 percent in April from April 2011. Television shows account for the largest share of filming permits.

Hotel occupancy rates of 82 percent improved 2 percent from a year ago, and the average daily room rate increased 3 percent. Santa Clarita hotels recorded higher occupancy rates than the 78 percent rate in the L.A. region, according to the SCVEDC’s report.

Good news came in the report that sales tax revenues increased 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 over 2010, to $7.04 million.


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