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October 16
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]


Home sales throughout the Santa Clarita Valley soared 9.9 percent during 2015.

The a Santa Clarita Realtors negotiated $1.7 billion in home and condominium sales for buyers and sellers last year, not including the millions of dollars in benefit to the local economy from added transactions, such as sales of furniture, appliances, landscaping and home repair and remodeling.

After two years of annual declines, the 2,451 homes that closed escrow during 2015 was the highest annual tally since 2006, when 2,531 homes changed owners. The record high came in 2004 with 3,869 home sales.

Local realtors also closed escrow on 1,104 condominiums, up 8.4 percent over 2014.

Prior to 2014, which saw a 19.8 percent decline in condo transactions, condo sales had been posting positive numbers since 2009. The record high annual condominium sales total of 1,852 was set in 2003.

“2015 was a good year and I expect to see the Santa Clarita market gaining slightly more momentum in 2016,” said M. Dean Vincent, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “We will see a more deliberate, yet steady increase in sales and prices in 2016. “Even if interest rates rise slightly, sales will be strong and price increases likely will outpace inflation,” he said, “Barring an unexpected economic or global event, the recent increase in interest rates, which remain near historic lows, will not diminish the market.”

Vincent and Jim Link, SRAR’s chief executive officer, said they expect to see a busy spring for local home sales and that any increase in sales or prices for 2016 will stay in low single-digit territory, especially as affordability issues counteract the upward pressure on prices due to the region’s limited inventory of properties listed for sale.

“Resale prices have risen fast enough and high enough that the pool of prospective buyers who can make payments and pay property taxes continues to shrink,” said Link.

“The market needs more active listings, but that’s not likely to happen unless there is a recession, which appears unlikely at this juncture.

“This market appears to be the new normal,” said Link .

The annual median price of all single-family homes sold during 2015 was $510,542, up 8.1 percent over 2014. The annual median price has been rising steadily since 2012, with 2013 and 2014 reporting double-digit increases. The record high home annual median price of $603,492 was set in 2006.

Similarly, the condominium annual median price of $314,500 was up 12.9 percent over 2014. Last year marked the fourth consecutive year the condo annual median increased, with a 33.8 percent jump in 2013. The condo annual record high of $380,583 was established in 2006.

December saw home and condo sales increase, up 4.8 percent and 22.2 percent over the prior December, respectively. There were a total of 450 active listings at the end of the month, down 11.9 from a year ago. That represents a 1.3-month supply at the current pace of sales; a 6-month supply is desired.

Distressed sales throughout Santa Clarita played a minor role in the 2015 market. Of the 337 combined residential sales, 2.1 percent were foreclosure related; 4.2 percent were short sales; while standards sales captured 88.7 percent of the market.

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