Realtors helped close escrow during November on 457 single-family homes, which was comparable to year-ago levels, and 165 condominiums, up 2.5 percent, throughout the San Fernando Valley. As 2016 draws to a close, it’s likely home and condo sales for the year will dip slightly from 2015 levels, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday, Dec. 21.
The 457 homes that changed owners were down one sale or 0.2 percent from November 2015 and 5.8 percent lower than the total reported this October. Even if December sees an increase in sales, which has been a typical pattern, 2016 most likely will end with total home sales down about 4 percent compared to 2015, which saw 6,108 homes sold.
The 165 condos that closed escrow during November valley wide were up 2.5 percent from November 2015, but down 17.5 percent, a decline that reflected seasonal patterns. The annual condo sales total is likely to be about 1 percent below 2015 when 2,153 condos changed owners.
“The local economy has improved with more jobs available throughout the region, yet that has not translated into increased housing activity throughout all of 2016,” said Gina Uzunyan, president of the 9,500-member Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “Demand for home ownership remains strong, yet rising prices push the far too few available listings out of the price comfort range of many prospective buyers.”
Indeed, local resale prices seem to have hit a plateau, in part due to buyer resistance. The median price of homes sold during November was $595,000, up 11.2 percent over a year ago November, but down 4.8 percent from October. It marked the first time that the median came in below $600,000 after seven consecutive months at or higher than that benchmark.
The single-family home median price peaked at $625,000, which was reported in August and October, but the monthly median remains 9.2 percent below the record high of $655,000 set in June 2007.
The condominium median price of $380,000 was up 3.4 percent over a year ago and 7.0 percent higher than this October. The condo median price peaked with the $397,000 median reported this July and has been drifting lower since. The October median was 8.4 percent below the record high of $415,000 set in February 2006.
“2017 most likely holds more of what we saw during 2016, though with a new administration in D.C. and a whole new outlook, who knows what changes are in store for the overall economy,” said Jim Link, the Association’s chief executive officer. “With the recent bump up in interest rates and with more rate hikes expected, we may see increase activity and home sales, which frequently happens as people rush to lock in lower rates.
“At the moment, there’s nothing to suggest the New Year will be different than what we saw this year,” Link said, “but that all could change if something radical happens.”
There were 1,419 active listings at the end of November. That was down 3.1 percent from a year ago and represented a 2.3-month supply at the current pace of sales. The inventory has been drifting lower for years with 2016 likely to see the average annual monthly inventory drop from a 2.3-month supply to a 2.1-month supply. Monthly inventory totals have posted declines every month since February 2015.
Sales typically increase in December from November tallies, but open escrows at the end of November suggest this year may be different. There were 614 pending escrows, down 3.3 percent from a year ago November.
2016 also saw distressed sales play an even more diminished role in the local residential housing market. There were a total of 22 distressed sales last month — 13 foreclosure-related transactions, for a 2.1 percent market share, and nine short sales, for a 1.4 percent share of the market. Standard sales involving typical buyers and sellers accounted for 591 combined residential transactions or 95.0 percent of total sales reported by members of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors® is a local trade association with more than 9,500 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.