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SCV Home Sales Hit Record Low

Sale of only 99 homes in January is down 45 percent from a year ago.

Posted: February 28, 2008 9:26 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
Home and condominium sales in the Santa Clarita Valley hit a record low in January, according to a report from the Southland Regional Association of Realtors released Wednesday.

Additionally, the median price of a single-family home sold in January fell below the $500,000 for the first time in three-and-a-half years.

The realtors organization reported that only 99 homes sold in January, which is down 42.4 percent from a year ago when 172 single-family homes changed owners.

The January number surpasses the previous record low set in September 2007 when 105 homes sold, according to the association.

The record high of 405 sales was set in June 2005.

Condos are also at a record low as a total of 31 condos closed escrow in the first month of 2008, which is a 57.7 percent decrease from January 2007, making it the lowest total on record for the realtors organization.

The previous record low was the 38 sales tallied for November 2007.

The record high continues to be the 204 condos sold in April 2003.

The median price of $460,000 for a single-family home was down 21.8 percent when compared to a year ago, according to the association's report.

January's median price is also considerably lower than the record high of $643,000 set in April 2006.
The association's statistics also show that the condominium median price for January was $284,900, a decrease of 20.9 percent from the prior year.

This was the first time in three-and-a-half years that a condo's median price went below the $300,000 mark.

The record high of $397,000 came two years ago in January 2006.

"Buyers are expecting whopping discounts, and sellers are not being realistic with their asking prices," Doreen Chastain-Shine, president of the association's Santa Clarita Valley Division said in a statement. "There are plenty of opportunities, but the market is deadlocked, at an impasse, and will remain that way until buyers realize that prices are not plummeting and sellers accept that they no longer have the upper hand."

Chastain-Shine then added, "The market is moving toward a new balance, and there is a slight upswing in activity, some of which is due to seasonal factors. But a stable, balanced market will not emerge until both parties get real."

Statistics from the association show that the pending escrow total increased 21.9 percent on a month-to-month basis, which supports its belief that next month's sales numbers may be slightly higher.
But the pending sales are still down 48.7 percent compared to a year ago.

"It will take several more months before we can be certain," Jim Link, the association's chief executive officer, said in a statement. "But we believe the market is near or at the bottom of this cycle, and we fully expect resale activity to pick up in the weeks and months ahead."

He continued, "Sales will not return to pre-2007 levels anytime soon. But some semblance of normalcy, stability and realistic pricing will begin to emerge."

The organization reports that a total of 2,163 active listings were reported at the end of January, up 22.9 percent from a year ago.

At the current pace of sales, the number represents a 16.6-month inventory, continuing a buyer's market.
The association considers a five-to-six-month inventory to be a balanced market.

Officials of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors believe that the inventory was much higher during the economic recession of the early 1990s, although statistics to support this belief are unavailable.

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