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Single Family Home Prices Increase, Condo Prices Sink

housing-marketBy Leon Worden/SCVNEWS.com

Single-family home prices inched up in January after two months at the bottom of a 9-year cycle, while condominium prices in the Santa Clarita Valley sank to depths not seen since July 2002.

The typical SCV home changed hands for $360,000 in January, up 5.9 percent from December and 4 percent higher than January 2011′s median price of $346,000.


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Meanwhile, January’s median condominium price fell to $184,500 from $203,800 in December and $200,000 in January 2011.

Foreclosures and short sales – where a home is sold for less than the outstanding loan – continue to weigh heavily on the local market. More homeowners are being forced to part with property they might not otherwise sell in the down market, as reflected in the number of escrow closures. January saw 146 single-family homes close escrow, up 24.8 percent from January 2011, and 64 condos, up 33.3 percent.

People who don’t have to sell aren’t selling.

“Unlike other parts of the nation, Santa Clarita has too few properties listed for sale,” the Southland Regional Association of Realtors said in a statement Wednesday.

“There are plenty of prospective buyers and lots of pent-up demand for housing, but too small of an inventory,” said Jim Link, the association’s CEO.

Active listings at the end of January numbered just 944, off 18.8 percent from a year ago. That translates into a 4.5-month supply of homes, versus the 5- to 6-month supply that Realtors like to see.

Link said potential home sellers “need to better understand the tradeoffs if they want to move to a better home” and that banks, which have been slow to sell foreclosure properties, “need to make further improvements in their response time on short sales.”

“The recent settlement between state attorneys general, including California’s, and five major lenders may yield faster action by lenders and offer some assistance to limited numbers of owners who owe more than the current market value of their home,” the association said.