Fueled by falling interest rates, rising inventory, and flat resale prices, sales during April of existing homes and condominiums throughout the Santa Clarita Valley improved on the strong showing posted in March, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.
A total of 214 single-family homes changed owners in April; that was up 12.0 percent from the prior year and, following seasonal surges, 27.4 percent higher than March.
It was the first year-to-year increase in five months and only the second going back to January 2018.
Realtors also helped closed escrow on 104 condominiums during April, up 9.5 percent from 2018 and 26.8 percent ahead of this March. It was the first month to break the 100-sale benchmark going back to August and only the fourth since July 2017.
“Santa Clarita is so desirable that it often sells itself, so buyers just needed to believe they had a real shot at owning a home,” said Amanda Etcheverry, the 2019 chair of the Santa Clarita Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “Four months of falling interest rates on home loans, combined with a growing inventory, and sellers willing to negotiate, did the trick.”
The median price of homes that changed owners last month came in at $608,200, up 3.4 percent from April 2018 and off 0.9 percent from the March median price. Unlike most other Southern California communities, Santa Clarita has yet to break its record high home median of $643,000 set last decade in April 2006.
So far this real estate cycle, the local median home price has peaked at $615,000 in May 2018, but has bounced around under it ever since.
The condominium median price for April of $410,000 matched the record high of April 2018.
“Flat or soft resale prices are the product of the market doing its job, reflecting the reality of buyer resistance and limitations,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer.
“But with rates unexpectedly lower than anticipated along with more active listings to choose from and flat home prices,” he said, “buyers will continue to be tempted to take advantage of this window of opportunity.”
The Association listed at the end of April a total of 600 active listings throughout Santa Clarita. That was up 25.8 percent from a year ago and represented a 1.9-month supply at the current pace of sales.
It was the 11th consecutive month that the listing total came in higher than the prior year, suggesting a shift in attitude by homeowners, a willingness to sell.
Not surprisingly, there were very few distressed sales culminated in April. Of the total 318 condo and home transactions, 309 or 97.2 percent were standard sales involving traditional buyers and sellers.
There were only two foreclosure-related home sales, 0.6 percent of the total, and three short sales—two homes and one condominium—where a lender agreed to a sale price that was less than the outstanding loan balance.
Pending sales, a measure of future market activity, had 326 open escrows at the end of the month, down 3.0 percent from April 2018.
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.