Here’s what the San Fernando Valley’s housing market looked like in March
The San Fernando Valley Housing Market
The median home price in March was $692,000. That’s a tick higher than the $680,000 price in March 2018.
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.”