Even as seasonal forces begin to moderate activity, November home sales and condominium sales in the Santa Clarita Valley remained well above year-ago levels, riding a surge of homebuying interest prompted by the pandemic and interest rates that continue to dip lower, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.
Pending sales, a measure of future activity, were up 39.4%, suggesting that the Santa Clarita market will remain robust in the closing month of 2021 and into the new year.
In November home sales, a total of 256 single-family homes closed escrows last month, up 45.5% compared to November 2019, though down 14.4% from this October. Sales have been above 200 every month since dipping to 111 in May as a result of stay-at-home orders, with October coming one sale away from the 300-sale benchmark, a feat not seen since 2005.
While down 18.7% on a month-to-month basis as the year draws to a close and supply tightens, the 87 condominiums that changed owners were 24.3% higher than a year ago.
“Record low-interest rates enable many buyers to offset some of the rise in prices and buy more house than would otherwise be possible,” said Louisa Henry, the 2020 chair of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of SRAR. “Holidays typically have an impact, along with the new stay-at-home directives, but the lack of inventory is the primary limitation on Santa Clarita home sales, not the absence of buyers.”
The Association reported 296 active listings throughout Santa Clarita, a decline of 21.5% from November 2019 and a mere 0.9-month supply at the current pace of sales. A 5- or 6-month supply is optimal. The inventory has been below a 1-month tally for the last five months, a statistic not seen in any other months since the Association began collecting the data in 2007. For perspective, the record-high total came in 2006 with 2,630 listings while the record low was set last December at 293 listings.
“The economic shutdown in May gave the inventory a chance to catch up slightly,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “The key word is ‘slightly,’ because May had Santa Clarita’s highest inventory total of 426 for the year, with every month since falling lower. Even May’s 2.6-month supply was well short of what the market needs, especially given heavy buyer demand.”
The median price — meaning half sold for more and half for less — of homes that changed owners last month in Santa Clarita was $692,000, up 10.7% from the prior year.
• The condominium median price of $435,000 was up 4.8 percent.
• Activity is likely to stay busier than normal for the holidays with the 362 pending escrows — a measure of future activity — reported at the end of November up 47.8% from the prior year.