San Fernando Valley Real Estate News

The San Fernando Valley Housing Market

Here’s what the San Fernando Valley’s housing market looked like in March

The San Fernando Valley Housing Market

Daily News
a sign in front of a house: A home with a sold sign is seen in Northridge on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. Home sales were up in March 2019 over the previous month, a real-estate trade group reported on Thursday, April 25, 2019. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)© Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media

Home sales were up in March 2019 over the previous month, a real-estate trade group reported on Thursday, April 25, 2019.
Here’s the good news: The San Fernando Valley’s housing market got a healthy little rebound last month, according to a new report.The bad news, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. If you’re selling a home, you might be having to make some compromises. But if you’re buying? Low interest rates and a gradually increasing supply certainly couldn’t hurt your pocketbook, though prices are still pretty high.And there’s some old — but still relevant — news affecting it all: Inventory is still thin.Yes. Welcome to the 818’s housing ups and downs — the April 2019 version.Here’s the rundown based on the latest report this week from the Southland Regional Association of Realtors, which tracks real-estate numbers in the Valley.Turns out, February’s home sales took such a dive that there was nowhere to go but up. And indeed, sales jumped 50 percent in March.In real numbers, a total of 399 single-family homes and 127 condos closed escrow in March.It was a jump from February, but don’t get too excited. March’s total, according to the association, was still down 12.9 percent for homes and 24 percent for condos compared to a year ago, when 458 condos and homes closed escrow.

The median home price in March was $692,000. That’s a tick higher than the $680,000 price in March 2018.

Good? Bad?

The thing is, even though the price is a littler higher, observers are seeing a “softening.”

“Prices have been softening since last year’s race to record highs,” Tim Johnson, the association’s chief executive officer, said in a statement accompanying the new numbers. “Now some sellers are having to lower their expectations in the face of slowly growing inventories and rising buyer resistance to high prices. “It’s interesting that prices continue to rise even as the inventory slowly expands and some buyers balk at high price increases.”

It’s that boost in inventory that is at least a silver lining to the really high prices potential buyers are seeing out there.

The association reported a total of 1,217 homes and condominiums listed for sale throughout the San Fernando Valley at the end of March, a 16 percent spike from March 2018.

It was the eighth-month in a row of an inventory increase after more than three years of monthly declines, according to the association.

But here again there’s a caveat. According to local real estate observers, given the actual size of the Valley, the inventory is “woefully” below historic totals and isn’t even close to what’s needed to meet pent-up demand.

The association estimates that at the current pace of sales, the 1,217 listings represented a 2.3-month supply, up from a 1.7-month supply 12 months ago but short of the 5-month supply that would yield a balanced market.

And remember that this is all happening in the midst of an affordable-housing crisis. At more than $600,000, a single-family home just isn’t affordable for many people, making it difficult for many to jump into the market in the first place.

In a recent economic forecast released by California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting, CERF Executive Director Matthew Fienup offered a “cautionary note” amid a really good economy right now: There’s a “hollowing out” of the Valley’s middle class, he warned. How to build communities that can employ and house individuals of various income levels is a serious challenge in the region.

Ultimately, the people who put together the numbers were heartened by some buyers looking to take a chance.

Dan Tresierras, president of the association, wasn’t saying it was a panacea, for sure. A slow February helped March’s numbers look good, he said. But there was another factor.

“That kind of jump in sales follows seasonal trends and resulted from an unusually slow February,” Tresierras said in a statement. “But the lowest interestrates on home loans in more than a year gave buyers a strong reason to get off the fence and make a decision.”

a screenshot of a cell phone© Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media

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