The new year got off to a solid start for residential real estate in the Santa Clarita Valley with single-family homes sales up even as median prices of homes and condominiums sold during January posted higher than a year ago, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.
A total of 148 single-family homes changed owners last month, up 20.3 percent from a year ago. It was the highest sales total for a January since 2013. For perspective, the January sales total was closer to the record low of 99 home sales set in January 2008 than to the record high 405 sales of June 2005.
Hindered by an extremely limited inventory, only 55 condominiums closed escrow during January, down 20.3 percent compared to January 2017. That total was only 24 sales higher than the record low 31 sales set in January 2008. The record high of 204 condo sales came in April 2003.
“There’s no escaping the fact that prices are being pushed higher simply because there are still many buyers yet so few properties listed for sale,” said M. Dean Vincent, chairman of the Santa Clarita Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “Now we have the added complication of passage of the recent tax reform law, which many experts believe will complicate or hinder some sales, especially here in California with its high housing costs.”
The federal budget deal consummated Feb. 9 offered a few positives for real estate, including a temporary extension of federal flood insurance, along with an extension of REALTOR®-backed tax provision that include relief from debt forgiveness, the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums, and several energy-efficiency related provisions.
“Realtors expect the local market to remain solid through 2018,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer, “though both sales and prices will be impacted by ongoing inventory shortages, expected hikes in interest rates, and the ripple effects of tax reform.”
The Association also reported that the median price of homes sold last month was $575,000, up 2.7 percent from 12 months ago. The closest the home price has come to the record high was last year’s June median price of $586,000. The record high of $643,000 was set in April 2006.
The condominium median price of $390,000 was up 8.3 percent from a year ago. It was the first time the condo median cracked the $390,000 benchmark since February 2006 and was just 10.6 percent below the record high median of $397,000 set in January 2006.
There were a mere 347 active listings at the end of January — down 19.9 percent from a year ago. That represents a 1.7-month supply at the current pace of sales, well below the desire 5- to 6-month inventory that would relieve upward pressure on prices.
The 347 total was closer to the record low of 312 listing reported in March 2013 than the record high of 2,630 reported in September 2006.
Pending escrows — a measure of future sales activity — came in 12.0 percent lower than a year ago with 241 open escrows reported at the end of January.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors is a local trade association with more than 10,300 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.