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June home sales rise in the SCV

Posted: July 26, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 26, 2012 1:55 a.m.
SCV June home sales jumped almost 30 percent over sales in May. Featured above is a Stevenson Ranch home listed for sale by RE/MAX of Santa Clarita. SCV June home sales jumped almost 30 percent over sales in May. Featured above is a Stevenson Ranch home listed for sale by RE/MAX of Santa Clarita.
SCV June home sales jumped almost 30 percent over sales in May. Featured above is a Stevenson Ranch home listed for sale by RE/MAX of Santa Clarita.

Sales closed on more Santa Clarita Valley homes in June than in any month since March 2007, leading local real estate agents to report the housing market is rebounding from one of the worst national recessions in 70 years.

Sales for single-family homes and condominiums alike jumped significantly over both the previous month and year, officials with the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported.

A total of 238 single-family homes changed owners, 9.7 percent higher than a year ago and up 28 percent from the 186 sales this May.

Condo sales recorded 93 closed escrows, up 16.3 percent over June 2011 and 12 percent ahead of the May tally.
When compared to the home sale drought era, home sales are up 140.4 percent and condo sales are 200 percent over January 2008, when sales hit bottom.

The good news came as no surprise to Erika Kauzlarich-Bird, president of the association’s Santa Clarita Valley Division, because the Santa Clarita Valley is a desirable place to live and the local economy has been solid compared to national, state and county figures.

The high sales numbers caught Kauzlarich-Bird off-guard, however, because Realtors throughout the valley have reported a low inventory of standard-sale homes — those  with equity.

Dwindling supply
At the current pace of sales, the June inventory represents a mere 1.6-month supply, far below what is considered to be a healthy supply and a big drop compared to the 3.8-months supply in June 2011.

“The falling inventory is due to a combination of factors,” said Jim Link, the association’s chief executive officer.

“Those reasons include ongoing consumer uncertainty about the economy, fewer bank-owned properties coming on the market, and nearly one-third of homeowners statewide owing more than their property is worth, thus freezing in place what otherwise would be a large number of prospective owners who might list for sale.”

Both Link and Kauzlarich-Bird noted, however, that standard sales involving owners who have equity in their property are slowly rising.

Many buyers are moving into the market taking advantage of historically low interest rates and bargains, the pair said. Local Realtors have been reporting multiple offers from traditional buyers during the past several months.

While a normal market is most likely still a year away, Kauzlarich-Bird said, the “window of opportunity is closing with each passing month as the impact of the recession recedes.”

“What is a little amazing is that sales continue to come even as the inventory drops lower and lower with each passing month,” she said.

Median prices
Medium prices have been slower in rising.

The median price of the 238 Santa Clarita Valley homes that changed owners last month came in at $360,000, down 2.7 percent from a year ago and unchanged from this May.

However, prices have been above $360,000 every month this year and have been trending higher since the beginning of an uneven recovery that started in 2010.

Median prices for condos, of $195,000, were down 2.5 percent from June 2011.

The upward trend in Santa Clarita Valley home sales was not matched statewide.

California numbers
In California, home sales dipped 1.8 percent last month compared to May sales, according to the San Diego-based research firm DataQuick. June sales were up 5.3 percent over the year before.

The increased sales apparently aren’t coming fully from distressed properties, either. The number of California homes entering the formal foreclosure process dropped in the second quarter to its lowest level since early 2007, DataQuick reported.

Notices of Default were down nearly 3 percent in the second quarter and down 3.6 percent from the same period in 2011, the research firm said.

Only 544 properties were listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service operated by the Southland Association of Realtors, down 51.3 percent from a year ago when there were 1,116 active listings.

Homes staying on the market for shorter periods could account for the increase in sales, however.

And demand is up among buyers, according to the association’s latest statistics. The number of homes sold in June exceeded the number of new homes listed for sale in June.


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