SCV home prices rise, buyers gain negotiating leverage

Solar panels will be required to accompany new homes built in California after 2020. Austin Dave/The Signal

Home prices in the Santa Clarita Valley rose in 2018, which resulted in weakened sales and negotiating leverage for buyers, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors recently reported.

Single-family home sales last year fell by just more than 9 percent from 2017, while the condominium tally was off 15 percent. Data showed this was the second consecutive year local home sales declined and the first year since 2011 that condominium sales did not exceed the 1,000-sale benchmark.

A total of 3,225 home and condominium transactions were reported in 2018 and generated $1.8 billion for the local economy, which does not include related economic benefits of remodeling, landscaping, home furnishings and purchase of new appliances that often accompany home sales.

Combined sales total fell by 1.1 percent, while the dollar volume was off by nearly 6 percent from the 2017 totals.

Amanda Etcheverry, the 2019 chair of the SCV division of the association, said 2019 will show a similar pattern but with more negotiating power for buyers.

“While still early in the process with the housing shortage still providing sellers an edge, the market is giving buyers some advantages, especially as houses sit longer on the market, inventory grows slightly, and many active listings report price reductions,” she said.

Due to rapidly rising prices, many prospective buyers were left behind, according to Etcheverry and Tim Johnson, the association’s chief executive officer.

“We’ve hit a point where there may be downward pressure on prices as the market shifts to the middle in an effort to regain buyers who have been priced out,” Johnson said in a statement.

Prices may overall continue to swell in 2019, but at a much slower pace, while sales will stay similar to 2018 results, he added.

Up 4.6 percent from a year ago, the annual median price of a single-family home was $594,242.

The association called Santa Clarita “unlike most Southern California communities,” in that the present real estate cycle has not posted a new record-high home price, but rather kept the $603,492 record posted in 2006 at the height of the boom market of the last decade.

The record-high condominium annual median price of $389,575 was up 8.5 percent over a year ago. It broke the prior record of $380,583 set in 2006.

In 2018, the average monthly active listing count was 544 listings, up 18.5 percent from 2017 and short by more than 2,000 listings seen in 2007. Data also showed a nearly 64 percent surge in new listings just in December, though that represented a mere 2.6-month supply at the current pace of sales.

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