Local Realtors helped close escrow on 186 home and 90 condominium sales in the Santa Clarita Valley during March with both tallies down from year-ago levels due to an extremely tight inventory, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.
The single-family home and condominium totals were down 8.4 percent and 25.0 percent, respectively, compared with March 2017.
Reflecting typical seasonal forces, however, home and condo sales on a month-to-month comparison were up 46.5 percent and 52.5 percent, respectively.
The median price of single-family homes that closed escrow during March was 583,000, which was up 9.0 percent from a year ago yet off 2.8 percent from this February.
It marked the first time the local home median hit the $600,000 benchmark since 2006. The record high home median price of $643,000 was established in April 2006.
The condo median price of $385,000 was up 11.6 percent from March 2017 and 1.3 percent ahead of this February. The record high condo median price of $397,000 was set in January 2006.
“What we’re seeing here in Santa Clarita is happening pretty much throughout Los Angeles County and Southern California,” said M. Dean Vincent, chairman of SRAR’s Santa Clarita Valley Division, in the organization’s April 26 report.
“A limited inventory frustrates large numbers of solid buyers with the resulting competition pushing resale prices higher and higher,” Vincent said.
“There’s no easing up on rising home and condo prices, but rising prices are unsustainable, especially as interest rates tick higher,” he said.
The Association reported 377 active listings at the end of March in Santa Clarita. That was down 8.9 percent from a year ago and represented a mere 1.4-month supply at the March pace of sales.
The March inventory decline marked the 14th month of the last 15 months, with February the lone exception, in which the inventory has declined.
“At what point will today’s record prices and high demand tempt more owners to jump into the market?” asked Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “So far, the local market does not have an answer to that question.”
However, if interest rates continue to move higher, albeit while still at favorable levels, it no doubt will impact buyers who are already struggling with high prices.
“A shift in the market may occur when interest rates rise above the 5 percent threshold,” he said. “That’s when people start to rethink buying over affordability and when some buyers will return to the sidelines.”
Pending escrows, a measure of future sales, came in at 355, off 0.3 percent from a year ago.
Of the 276 combined home and condominium sales during March, 97.8 percent or 270 transactions were standard sales involving traditional buyers and sellers.
There were only two foreclosure-related transactions locally, for a 0.7 percent share of the market, and three short sales for a 1.1 percent share. A short sale is when a lender agrees to a purchase price that is less than the remaining balance on an outstanding loan on the property.
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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