Home sales in Valley drop 55.5%

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“The impact of the credit crunch spread throughout all tiers of the market in September,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, vice president and chief economist at the Los Angeles-based California Association of Realtors. In the San Fernando Valley market, from Toluca Lake to Calabasas, 362 previously-owned single-family houses changed owners, 452 fewer than in September a year ago, said the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. That’s the fewest monthly sales in the association’s database, which dates back to April 1984. “There are plenty of sellers out there who understand the market, have already listed their house at a highly competitive price and are prepared to do whatever it takes to complete a sale,” said Jim Link, the executive vice president with the association. “But sellers need offers to make it happen.” San Fernando Valley home sales plunged an annual 55.5 percent in September – a record low – as the market slide accelerated across the region, state and nation, reports released Wednesday showed. The September swoon at all levels is being blamed on the credit crisis that erupted with surprising swiftness in mid-August and paralyzed residential real estate markets. “It’s pretty dismal, isn’t it,” said Nima Nattagh, a principal at market tracker Geostat Advisory. “And it’s not going to get any better anytime soon.” Nattagh said that problems in the mortgage sector still have to be resolved and the market should brace for a wave of foreclosures and homeowners falling behind in their mortgages. Still, the median price, the point at which half the homes cost more and half less, increased an annual 4.8 percent to $623,700. Prices continue to rise because the credit crunch has basically shut down activity at the lower-priced end of the market. The condominium sector showed the same trend. Last month condo sales plunged 48.2 percent with 155 transactions. That’s the fewest sales since 155 condos sold in May of 1995. The condominium median price increased 2.6 percent to $390,000. The association speculates that many prospective buyers are waiting for more foreclosures to come on the market and push down prices. Others are likely locked out of the market for now because lenders have tightened credit standards. Slower sales pushed the inventory to 7,772 properties at the end of September, up an annual 13.6 percent. But new listings fell 17.9 percent. That number of properties equals a 14.4-month supply, the highest level since March 1993. The record is a 23-month supply in February, 1993. In the Santa Clarita Valley home sales fell an annual 51.8 percent to 105 transactions and the median price fell 4.3 percent to $560,000. Condo sales fell 52.3 percent to 52 transactions and the median price fell 3.9 percent to $370,000. Meanwhile, the state association reported that home sales plunged 38.9 percent across the state and the median price fell 4.7 percent from a year ago to $530,830. It’s the first annual decline in more than 10 years. Prices typically fall from August to September but the monthly decline of 9.9 percent is a record, the association said. “I think over the next month or so we will see more of the same thing,” Appleton-Young said. “There is no urgency in the housing market now for buyers.” If the market matches September’s pace all year there will be 271,590 sales, the association said. “California’s sales fell more steeply than those of the U.S. as a whole because of its heavy reliance on jumbo loans – those above the conforming loan limit of $417,000,” said association President Colleen Badagliacco. She said that this speaks to the need to raise the conforming loan limit in higher-cost states like California to more accurately reflect the cost of housing. Appleton-Young noted that while the entry-level portion of the market has been adversely affected by the subprime situation and tighter underwriting standards for much of this year, the high end of the market also saw a decline in sales. In Los Angeles County sales fell an annual 38.4 percent and the median price declined 2.8 percent to $569,390. In Ventura County sales fell an annual 47.3 percent the the median price slipped 0.7 percent to $681,820. In the High Desert, which includes the Antelope Valley, sales plunged 62.7 percent and the median price jumped an annual 17.4 percent to $271,940. During September, 30-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 6.38 percent compared with 6.40 percent in September 2006, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 5.66 percent in September 2007 compared with 5.56 percent in September 2006. [email protected] (818) 713-3743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more