Realtors in the Santa Clarita Valley assisted 2,347 single-family home sales during 2019, an increase of 4.5 percent over the prior year, while prices hit new highs and the inventory plunged, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.
It was the first annual increase in home sales after two consecutive years of declining sales.
However, condominium sales of 926 units for the year were down 6.4 percent from 2018, primarily due to a lack of inventory.
The home and condominium annual sales totals negotiated by realtors generated $1.9 billion for the local economy, not including the added impact of related transactions that typically follow many transactions, such as landscaping, home improvement projects, and home furnishing purchases.
“There are still plenty of prospective buyers hunting for a home or condominium in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Louisa Henry, the 2020 chair of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “Today’s low-interest rates on home loans bring out additional buyers, but the tight inventory was the limiting factor for both home and condo sales last year, a fact that does not appear likely to change in the months ahead.”
The year ended with a record low supply — a mere 293 home and condo active listings throughout the Valley at the end of December. It was the first time that the inventory fell below the 300-listing benchmark.
December also was the sixth consecutive month that listings fell, with the tally down 44.0 percent compared to 2018. For comparison, the record high inventory was set in September 2006 with 2,630 active listings.
“Low interest rates brought additional buyers into the market,” said Tim Johnson, the association’s chief executive officer, “which added upward pressure on prices, especially with the limited supply of homes for sales. “Between limited inventory and sky-high resale prices statewide, we have a housing problem that can best be solved by doing all we can to increase the housing supply,” Johnson said.
The annual price of single-family homes that changed owners throughout 2019 came in at $610,350, which was the highest annual price since the Association started keeping home prices statistics in 1998.
That was 2.7 percent higher than 2018 and the eighth consecutive annual increase in home prices, although the percentage annual change has been getting smaller as rising prices push greater numbers of prospective buyers out of the market.
Similarly, the annual price of condominiums sold during 2019 was $397,792, a record high and 2.0 percent above the prior record set last year.
Like single-family homes, the condominium annual price posted increases in each of the prior eight years, with the largest increase of 33.8 percent reported in 2013 and recent years posting diminishing single-digit increases.
December ended with Realtors assisting the close of escrow on 200 home and 59 condominium sales. The home tally was up 51.5 percent while the condo sales total fell 16.9 percent from the prior year.
The Association’s Income-to-Loan Guide for December showed that a minimum income of $125,635 was needed to buy a median-priced home in the Santa
Clarita Valley. But the income needed actually was down 4.0 percent compared to a year ago, even though the median-priced reported in December 2018 was lower — $587,000 in 2018 compared to $622,000 this December.
The primary reason for the difference was the impact of lower interest rates — the December national average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan was 3.72 percent, while in December 2018 the rate was 4.84 percent.
The December rate yielded a monthly payment of $3,141 — down from $3,273 in 2018 — for principal and interest, the monthly share of property taxes, and the monthly portion of the insurance premium.
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.
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