Real-estate sales show SCV, San Fernando split

Houses in the Santa Clarita Valley near Copper Hill Drive. Katharine Lotze/Signal

November real-estate sales numbers paint a Tale of Two Valleys.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, it is the best of times … or at least the best in several years. In the San Fernando Valley, while it is not the worst of times … the times have been better.

So what the Dickens do the numbers show?

In the Santa Clarita Valley, Realtors closed escrow on 205 homes in November — up 33.1 percent over a year ago, according to data released Wednesday by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

The number of escrow closes locally was 154 in November 2015 – so that 33.1 percent statistic touted by the Realtors Association is a bit less eye-popping when one considers the scale. Still, the numbers reflect a healthy market.

Home sales totaled one percent higher than October, marking the best for a November since 2005.

November also marked the ninth consecutive month that Santa Clarita-area home sales exceeded the 200-sale benchmark.“If December sales hit or exceed 200 sales, as has happened over the last five years, the annual home sales tally will be higher than 2015,” M. Dean Vincent, president of the association’s Santa Clarita Valley Division, said in a statement.

“It also will mark the second consecutive year the annual total will post positive numbers after modest declines in annual sales in 2013 and 2014.”

According to the association’s data, Realtors also closed escrow on 89 condominiums in the Santa Clarita Valley in November — up 3.5 percent from last year’s 86, but down 6.3 percent compared to October’s 95.

“If 100 condos close escrow during December, the annual condominium tally will match or slightly exceed 2015,’’ the association reported.

The data also show that the median price of a Santa Clarita-area single-family home that closed escrow during November was $545,000 — up 4.8 percent over 2015 but down by 0.5 percent from October.

Santa Clarita’s median is also close to the one recorded in San Fernando Valley for November.

According to the association, “The October median (SCV) was 15.2 percent below the record high of $643,000 set in April 2006. The high point for the home median since the housing recovery began came this June with a $575,000 median price. It has been drifting lower since.’’

Meanwhile, the Santa Clarita numbers show the condominium median price was $340,000 in November — 3 percent higher than 2015’s $330,000 but 14.4 percent below the record high of $397,000 in January 2006.

Jim Link, the association’s chief executive officer, said 2017 promises more of the same healthy trends. But he did add a caveat.

“2017 most likely holds more of what we saw during 2016, though with a new administration in D.C. and a whole new outlook, who knows what changes are in store for the overall economy?” Link said in a statement.

“With the recent bump up in interest rates and with more rate hikes expected, we may see increased activity and home sales, which frequently happens as people rush to lock in lower rates.

“At the moment, there’s nothing to suggest the new year will be different than what we saw this year, but that all could change if something radical happens.”

San Fernando Valley

Meanwhile, in the San Fernando Valley, the association reported November escrow closes on 457 single-family homes, just one less than a year ago, but 5.8 percent less than the 485 recorded in October.

Condo sales in the San Fernando Valley tipped a bit more favorably in November –165 compared to the 161 tallied in November 2015.

“As 2016 draws to a close, it’s likely home and condo sales for the year (in the San Fernando Valley) will dip slightly from 2015 levels,’’ the association reported – adding, “Even if December sees an increase in sales, which has been a typical pattern, 2016 most likely will end with total home sales down about 4 percent compared to 2015, which saw 6,108 homes sold.’’

Gina Uzunyan, president of the association, attributed to San Fernando downtrends to rising prices.

“The local economy has improved with more jobs available throughout the region, yet that has not translated into increased housing activity throughout all of 2016,” Uzunyan said. “Demand for home ownership remains strong, yet rising prices push the far too few available listings out of the price comfort range of many prospective buyers.”

According to the association’s data, the median price for a single-family home in the San Fernando Valley in November was $595,000 compared to November 2015’s $535,000. On the condo side, the median cost increased in November to $380,000 from $367,500 a year ago.

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