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March home sales hit their highest levels in 3 years

Sales prices climb to levels last seen in mid-2010

Posted: April 26, 2013 4:55 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2013 4:55 p.m.

Santa Clarita Valley March home prices hit their highest levels since mid-2010 when homebuyer tax credits were offered to stimulate the housing market.

Driven by the limited number of homes listed for sale, the median price of single-family SCV homes sold during March was $420,000, reported the Southland Regional Association of Realtors on Thursday.

Home sales were also up in March, signaling growing buyer demand for housing locally, experts report.

Despite listings that are 50 percent lower than the prior year, 200 homes sold in March — up over the prior month and year, the association reported.

There were only 251 listings, compared to 504 homes listed for sale in March 2012.

Yet sales of single-family homes in the Santa Clarita Valley during March were 30.7 percent better than February, and the numbers showed the best March in three years.

Home sales have increased 102 percent from the record low of 99 transactions recorded in January 2008.

"The depth of pent-up demand for housing in our community is evident in the rise in prices and continuing increases in sales, even in the face of an incredibly limited inventory of homes for sale," said Bob Khalsa, president of the association’s Santa Clarita Valley Division.

There are multiple buyers for almost every property, Khalsa and other Realtors have reported for the past year.

"Home prices in all price ranges clearly are on their way up, yet nowhere near the supply needed to satisfy demand," Khalsa said.

The lack of listings is behind rising prices, said Jim Link, the association’s chief executive officer.

As prices continue to rise, however, homeowners who have been underwater — who owe more than their home is currently valued — will begin to benefit from an improving market, he said.

Neither Khalsa nor Link believes current market conditions will change anytime soon.

What did change in March is the number of homes listed for sale by owners who have equity in their homes.

Whereas foreclosures and short sales once dominated the market, more than 61 percent of the valley’s homes listed for sale in March represented standard sales. That number is up from 48.4 percent in February.

March foreclosures represented only 7.8 percent and short sales 30 percent — down from 15 percent and 36 percent respectively in February.



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