Annual home sales increase while condominium sales decrease in 2016

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

Total home sales in the Santa Clarita Valley increased in 2016 compared to 2015 figures, while total condominium sales decreased for the year during the same time period, according to the most recent report from the Southland Regional Association of Realtors (SRAR).

In 2016, the Santa Clarita Valley reported the total sale of 2,493 single-family homes, up 1.7 percent from 2015 numbers.  This is the second consecutive year of increased home sales following two years of decline in 2013 and 2014.

The historic high for single-family homes in the area was in 2004 with 3,869 total sales, and the historic low for the area was in 2007 when the market bottomed with 1,993 sales.

There was a slight downward trend for condominium sales in 2016 with a total of 1,095 condos sold, a decrease of 0.8 percent from 2015.

SRAR noted that condo sales have continuously made small, steady gains in annual sales since the market hit a low in 2008 with 836 total sales.

There was a surge in condo sales in 2012 and 2013 before a decrease in 2014, which SRAR contributes to a change in and lack of inventory; a trend that appears to be affecting the number of both homes and condos available for sale throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

“There’s strong, ongoing demand for housing in Santa Clarita,” said Marty Kovacs, the 2017 chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the SRAC in a press release. “We have a similar problem found in most other local markets in California — a lack of inventory.”

However, Kovacs did note that the area is fortunate to have a large number of new homes coming onto the market as they near the end of construction.

The change in inventory and home sales did not negatively impact home or condo prices, as both experienced annual gains for the fifth consecutive year.

For single-family homes, the reported 2016 median price of sales was $542,933, reflecting an increase of 6.3 percent from 2015.  For condominium sales, the reported 2016 median price was $338,875, up 7.8 percent from 2015.

Both homes and condos hit their record-high sales in 2006 at $603,492 and $380,583 respectively.  Compared to 2016, 2016’s prices are 10 percent below the record high for home sales and 11 percent below the record high for condo sales.

Realtors from SRAR believe home sale would be higher in 2016 if there were more properties to sell.  Total active listings for 2016 were down 8 percent for single-family homes, but up 18 percent for condominiums.

At the current pace of sales, active listings for 2016 represented a 1.9-month inventory.

“Something needs to be done if we want to ensure that essential service providers like police, fire and first responders, have an affordable place to live,” said Tim Johnson, chief executive officer of SRAR in a press release. “The solutions will come through a combination of local and statewide housing initiatives and reforms. And the wild card is the new administration’s plan for federal housing policy.”

For the month of December 2016, SRAR reported a total of 198 home sales and 84 condominium sales.  The numbers reflect a decrease of 3.4 percent for home sales and a decrease of 5.6 percent for condo sales from November 2016.

However, median prices for the month were up for both homes and condo.  The median home price for December was up 7.1 percent from December 2015 and up 1.8 percent from November 2016 at $555,000.

The median condo price was $340,000, up 10 percent from December 2015 and remained unchanged from November 2016.

Looking forward into 2017, SRAR said future home and condominium sales will depend on the economy.

“Home sales will increase if the economy is stimulated,” Kovacs said.  “Enough people feel confident about the future and have the added resources to pay for a home of their own.”

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