A total of 2,478 single-family homes and 1,162 condominiums changed owners during 2017 in the Santa Clarita Valley while the annual median price of both categories increased 4.6 percent and 6.0 percent, respectively, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® reported on Monday, Jan. 22.
The number of homes that closed escrows fell less than 1 percent — down 0.6 percent — compared to a year ago, not for lack of demand, but because of an exceptionally tight inventory of homes listed for sale. For comparison, the record annual sales total of 3,869 homes was set in 2004 when every month saw thousands of listings compared to the 2017 monthly average of 459 active listings.
REALTORS® also helped closed escrow on 1,162 condominiums, a tally that was up 6.1 percent from 2016 and marked the sixth consecutive year that condo sales surpassed the 1,000-sale benchmark. The record high condo annual sales total of 1,852 transactions was reported in 2003.
Working with buyers and sellers, local REALTORS® generated $1.94 billion for the economy of the Santa Clarita Valley, not including the added millions of dollars spent on home-sale related activity, such as new landscaping, home repair or remodeling, and purchases of appliances and furniture.
“The last three years have seen modest increases in local home sales and a more stable residential real estate market than what we saw during the boom of last decade,” said M. Dean Vincent, chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the 10,300-member Southland Regional Association of REALTORS®. “Yet the demand for housing remains massive and more sales would have occurred except for the lack of properties listed for sale. Due to multiple market forces, I don’t see inventory increasing this year. This may be the new normal.”
There were a mere 319 homes and condominiums listed for sale at the end of December, which was the third lowest monthly inventory on record and represented a dismal 1.1-month supply at the current pace of sales.
The December inventory was down 27 percent from a year ago, while the 2017 annual monthly average of 459 listing per month was the second lowest on record, behind only 2013 which posted the record low of a monthly average of 436 listings.
For comparison, the record-high average listings per month came in 2006 with an annual average of 2,105 active listings.
“Last decade, when sales soared and resale prices rose to record levels, owners raced to list their home for sale,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer, noting that today’s market is more stable than the wild ride between 2003 and 2007 partly because lenders go to greater lengths to ensure buyers can actually afford a home.
“Part of the hesitation to sell today may be related to the still-uncertain impact on residential real estate of the recently passed tax cuts at the federal level,” Johnson said. “And, current owners also are wary about finding another home due to the region’s severe housing shortage.”
The annual median price of homes sold last year was $567,925, which was up 4.6 percent over 2016, yet well below the record-high annual home price of $603,492 set in 2006.
2017 marked the sixth consecutive year the annual home price posted an increase, although the pace of price hikes has slowed — from double-digit jumps to single-digit gains — as it is pushed higher and the pool of prospective buyers willing and able to afford a home shrinks.
The condominium annual median price also posted its sixth consecutive increase with the 2017 price of $359,167 up 6.0 percent from 2016. The record high annual condo price of $380,583 was reported in 2006. Like single-family homes, the annual price gains are slowing, peaking with a 33.8 percent increase in 2013.
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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