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Existing home sales inventory on the rise

Posted: July 6, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 6, 2014 2:00 a.m.

The number of homes going up for sale are increasing, easing the restricted inventory that has driven prices up. Above, a home for sale in Saugus on Artine Drive on July 3.

After a long drought in the housing market the number of Santa Clarita homes listed for sale is rising – in fact, the inventory is near double what it was at this time last year, according to a local Realtor.

As the real estate market has been in recovery mode for the past two years, Santa Clarita Valley home sales and median values has continued rising.

The number of homes listed for sale, however, has been climbing more slowly making it difficult at times for home buyers to find and successfully bid on a home for sale. The inventory of homes listed for sale however has improved over the last few months.

And on Thursday, the nation’s unemployment rate dipped to 6.3 percent in May - its lowest level since the financial crisis struck in the fall of 2008.

Upon news of the brightening jobs picture, stocks on the Dow Jones Industrial average topped 17,000 for the first-time ever.

Also, new housing starts in May topped 1 million, down from April up 9.4 percent over May 2013.

The question is, whether rising home equity and growing consumer confidence is accounting for the increase in the number of homes being listed for sale locally.


Rising inventory

According to the MLS listings, the number of active existing home sale listings in the Santa Clarita Valley increased from some 400 residential units at this time last year, to 756 active listings this year, said Connor MacIvor with RE/MAX.

In fact, as of last week there were 1,062 active and back-up listings combined, he said. When accounting for homes listed for sale, but in escrow, there were 1,332 listings in total.

“The added inventory is creating a couple of interesting trends for our local real estate market,” MacIvor said.


As the inventory grows, however, sellers have been reducing their real estate prices more than they are increasing them, MacIvor said.

“And the buyers are seeing they have more to choose from so they are taking longer to make decisions about writing offers,” he said.

While reductions from the listing price have occurred, they have yet to cause a dip in the actual sales prices though.

Rather the market is stabilizing as prices begin to normalize from the over-inflated prices pre-recession years.

Adding to the number of homes listed for sale is the fact that many sellers are no longer underwater on their mortgage – owing more than their house is worth, according to Dwight Hawkins with Realty Executives.

“Some sellers are empty nesters,” Hawkins said. “They can now sell and buy homes all-cash. You’re seeing more of that than a lot of investor buys.”

Another trend is that as home value appraisals come in there are now extended negotiation periods with sales prices being adjusted.

Some sellers are asking for more money, and some buyers are reducing their offers once appraisals come in.

Hawkins recently sold a nice home with a pool in an up and coming neighborhood in Castaic.

The highest appraisal came in at $455,000 prompting the sellers to ask for that amount instead.

“The buyer said ‘yes,’ and paid $10,000 over the appraisal, but less than the $470,000 she originally offered,” Hawkins said.

The buyer was willing to pay more the get a good home in the area, he said.

As inventory has grown, MacIvor said he’s seen more decreases recently in seller’s over-ambitious listing prices.

In the past seven days, he’s had 98 listings in which the asking price on nine homes increased, but the other 89 homes decreased their listing prices.

“We will have to see if the ‘more inventory’ trend continues, if so and if the buyers remain at their same pace at buying real estate,” MacIvor said. “We could see that trend slow the rising home values throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.”


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