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Low home supply hurts sales

Realtors say shortage of houses thwart market sales in September

Posted: October 26, 2009 10:53 p.m.
Updated: October 27, 2009 8:00 a.m.

It's not a surplus, but rather and shortage of homes that's hampered the real estate market in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to a group of local Realtors.

A tight inventory of homes listed for sale throughout the SCV dampened September's sale numbers, with only 178 closed escrows - 8.7 percent below a year ago, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.

Condominium sales also were down 27 percent from a year ago, with a total of 65 properties changing owners during September.

Those numbers are disappointing given the demand for homes, the association reported.

"Buyers are eager to take advantage of this unique window of opportunity," said Nancy Starczyk, president of the association's Santa Clarita Valley division. "But there were not enough properties listed for sale to satisfy demand."

The housing supply was down 53 percent for the month of September when compared to the same month in 2008. There were only 747 active listings in the Santa Clarita Valley by the end of September.

That represents a 3.1-month supply. In a healthy real estate market, inventory hovers between a five- to six-month supply, according to Southland Regional Association officials.

Local Realtor Mary Funk said government intervention in the real estate market has held back a tidal wave of foreclosed homes that would boost housing supply.

"We don't have a lot of (bank-owned) properties," she said.

A combination of government-backed mortgage modifications have kept many homeowners from losing their houses. If those programs end, Funk said, there will be plenty of homes on the market to sell.

"We're getting them in dribs and drabs," she said.


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