Condo sales rise as available homes decrease

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

A limited supply and increased cost for homes in the Santa Clarita Valley has lent itself to more condominiums being sold, according to a report from the Southland Regional Association of Realtors on Thursday.

Marty Kovacs, chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors, said there are multiple factors driving down house sales and raising condo sales, not the least of which is unaffordability.

“It’s the best, and in some cases the only, way to get into the market — start with what you can afford,” Kovacs said in a statement.

In May, 107 condos were sold in the valley, which is a 5.9 percent increase from a year ago, the association cited. A total of 81 condos were sold in April and 101 were sold this time last year.

Comparatively, 246 homes were sold last month, a 2.4 decrease from the previous year. In April, 192 homes were sold and 252 were sold in May 2016.

“You can’t cure the housing crisis by pointing to any single issue,” Kovacs said. “You have to treat a full range of concerns: affordability, income, property taxes, along with the stark lack of inventory.”

However, there were significant increases from April to May, with 32.1 percent more condos sold and 28.1 percent more homes sold over a month.

Realtor’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Johnson said there is a 4.3 percent decrease in active listings since last year to a total of 484.

This is enough inventory for one and one-fourth months, but a three-month supply ought to be the minimum and five months is ideal, according to the association.

“It’s difficult to ease pressure on prices with so many buyers chasing so few properties listed for sale,” Johnson said in a statement.

The median price of a home increased 1.8 percent since last year and 0.9 percent since last month to $560,000.

Home prices are 12.9 percent less than the all-time high in April 2006 and 64.7 percent more expensive than the all-time low in November 2011.

For condos, the median price increased 5.9 percent from the previous year and 1.4 percent from April to $370,000.

Costs for condos are 6.8 percent less expensive than their high in January 2006 and 117.6 percent more than their low in July 2012.

Currently, there are 423 pending escrows in the valley. This is a 5.2 percent increase from May 2016.

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