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SCV housing market better than most

Posted: December 23, 2008 9:18 p.m.
Updated: December 24, 2008 4:59 a.m.
 
Continuing an upward trend in sales that started in April, 55 percent more homes were sold in the Santa Clarita Valley compared with December 2007, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

"That's a far cry from the record high 405 sales set in June 2005, but a strong indicator the local housing market has bottomed out and resale activity is on the upswing," said Doreen Chastain-Shine, president of the Association's Santa Clarita Valley Division.

The median price of single-family homes sold in November here was $400,000, off 23.4 percent from November 2007 and dramatically below the record high of $643,000 in April 2006.

The drop off in the condo median price was even steeper during November - down 33.5 percent to a median of $210,000, well below the record high of $397,000 set in January 2006.

"The local market is clearly bouncing off the bottom with remarkable bargains going to buyers who come to the table with cash or a loan in hand," said Jim Link, the Association's chief executive officer. "There would be even more sales, except lenders are not issuing loans even to some buyers who meet today's exceptionally stringent, constantly shifting underwriting standards."

Like most economic indicators, predictions for 2009 are mixed.

On Monday, Forbes magazine predicted the Los Angeles market would lead the nation in median-home price decline at 24.9 percent.

Mark Schniepp, executive director of the California Economic Forecast, called Forbes' prediction "absolutely ludicrous."

Schniepp predicts a bottom for the housing market in the first quarter of 2009 with moderate increases in median-home value throughout the rest of the year resulting in a possible net increase in 2009.

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