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SCV economy on rise

Posted: August 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Featured above is the Valencia Industrial Center. Certificates of Occupancy for commercial space were up significantly in May 2011 over 2010. One-third of the permits issued were for industrial space.

The recently released Santa Clarita Valley Economic Snapshot reflected some positive economic signs.

The data shows some signs of life in both the commercial and residential real estate markets, and positive gains for filming and sales-tax revenues in Santa Clarita.

Though previously issued by the city of Santa Clarita, the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. is now issuing the monthly economic reports.

On the commercial property front, 11 certificates of occupancy were issued in May, up from three issued in the same period in 2010. Five of those certificates were for retail, perhaps reflecting increased consumer spending recorded this year.

The occupancy certificates represented a total of 46,791 square feet, a significant increase from the 6,548 square feet represented in May 2010. Thirty-four percent of the space was for industrial space.

No new commercial building permits however were issued in May, reflecting a still-stagnant building industry.

Single-family home values and sales volumes in the city of Santa Clarita are nearing numbers last seen in the spring of 2010.

Home values in May 2011 averaged $419,700, up 4 percent from April 2011. The average sales prices remained 7 percent below May 2010.

Home sales in the city were down 8 percent from the month before, however, and down 14 percent from May 2010 when home-buyer tax credits were offered, temporarily driving sales up.

While condominium sale prices slipped 6 percent between April and May, and remained flat with the same periods in 2010, sales volumes actually rose 26 percent in May from April. Sales of these units were also down from one year ago when tax credits were in effect.

The numbers for the valley as a whole were different, reflecting slightly different conditions in unincorporated areas of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Home values in the valley only increased 1 percent between April and May, compared with a 4 percent increase in the city. The number of homes sold in May 2011 compared to 2010, dropped 20 percent relative to 14 percent in the city.

Valleywide condominium sale prices decreased only 4 percent compared with the city, and the volume of sales only rose 20 percent.

The city of Santa Clarita’s recorded a 7.3 percent unemployment rate in May, comparing favorably with surrounding areas or similar-cities.

Unemployment in the city of Los Angeles remained double-digit at 13 percent; Glendale registered 10.4 percent, Pasadena 9 percent, Palmdale 14.7 percent and Lancaster 16.6 percent.

The city’s 7.3 percent unemployment rate barely nudged down however from the 7.5 percent rate of one year ago.

The Los Angeles County unemployment rate is 11.9 percent, and the state of California is 11.4 percent.

The city of Santa Clarita recently announced it had its best year ever for location filming since the city began issuing location-filming permits in 2003.

In May 2011, film permits were up 5 percent over May 2011, and up 12 percent year-to-date.

Filming days in May were up 53 percent over May 2010, and the estimated economic impact for local filming was $1,255,500, up 5 percent from May 2010. The year-to-date estimated impact, however, was down 20 percent, as production companies have taken out fewer permits for feature films than television and commercial productions.

Hotel-occupancy rates, in part reflecting increased location-filming activity, were at 77 percent in May compared to 67 percent in May 2010. Local occupancy rates are slightly higher than L.A. County rates which were at 75 percent.

The SCVEDC reported that the year-over-year increase in occupancy rates was the second-highest in the region, following Long Beach.

Sales tax revenue
Sales tax revenue of $6.77 million generated for the city in the fourth quarter 2010 was up 7.6 percent from the $6.29 million collected in the same period 2009.

It remains to be seen what the impact will be in the second half of 2011 as a result of the lowered state sales-tax rate if the economy does not continue growing. A temporary 1 percent tax hike imposed in 2009 expired July 1, dropping sales taxes from 9.75 to 8.75 percent.


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