Sean Speaks My goal is to provide some useful information on buying and selling a home in Santa Clarita as well as share some news and articles that I have found interesting.


Buyers Face a Brighter Affordability Picture This Spring

coming soon sign


Though home prices are still up year over year in all 50 states, the overall affordability outlook is improving, according to Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor Report. The decline in mortgage rates has helped increase consumers’ buying power by more than 6 percent and reduced mortgage payments on an average-priced home by $62, according to the report.


“There is good news in these numbers for prospective home buyers,” says Ben Graboske, president of Black Knight’s data and analytics division. “Combined with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declining by more than half a point over the last three months, housing is now the most affordable it’s been since early in the 2018 homebuying season.”

With a 30-year fixed-rate loan, it currently takes 22.2 percent of the national median income—along with a 20 percent down payment—to cover the mortgage costs of an average-priced home, Graboske says. That’s down from a post-recession high of 23.4 percent just a few months ago and well below the long-term average of 25 percent in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he adds.

Home prices have slowed the most on the West Coast, particularly in California and Washington, the report notes. For example, California has seen its annual rate of appreciation drop from more than 10 percent in February 2018 to 3 percent at the end of 2018. The slowdown is most apparent in San Jose, Calif., San Francisco, and Seattle.

Nationwide, annual home price appreciation slowed for the 10 consecutive months ending in December 2018. Home price appreciation has dropped from a high of 6.8 percent annual growth in February 2018 to 4.6 percent by the end of the year, according to Black Knight. The lower home prices and mortgage rates will certainly help buyers who had been struggling with affordability, the report notes. Still, “while this is all welcome news for consumers heading into the spring homebuying season, it remains to be seen whether recent rate declines and easing affordability will be enough to halt the deceleration in home price growth,” Graboske notes.

Mortgage Monitor: January 2019,” Black Knight (March 7, 2019)

Condo’s Torrid Sales Pace Slackens During April; Median Price of Homes Up 3% to $538,200


After soaring high for the first three months of the year, condominium sales in the Santa Clarita Valley fell back to earth during April, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® reported on Tuesday, May 23.

A total of 81 condominiums changed owners last month, down 31.4 percent from the 118 closed condo escrows of April 2016, which was the highest monthly total last year.

REALTORS® also helped closed escrow on 192 single-family homes, down 9.4 percent from April 2016 and 5.4 percent lower than this March.

“Condominium sales had to start falling eventually,” said Martin “Marty” Kovacs, chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

He noted that condo sales for the first three months — totaling 263 closed escrows — were the highest since the first three months of 2007 when 274 condos changed owners. The record high for the first trimester of any year came in 2005 with 410 condo closed escrows.

“Perhaps changes by the FHA last year that relaxed owner occupancy rules in some condominium developments, from 50 percent to as low as 35 percent, contributed to a short-term surge,” he said

The median price of single-family homes that closed escrow during April was $555,000, up 3.1 percent from April 2017 and 3.7 percent higher than March.

Since the Great Recession, the home median price peak of $560,000 arrived in July and repeated again in January. Nonetheless, the April home median price was 13.7 percent below the record high of $643,000 set in April 2006.

Similarly, the highest condominium median price reported since economic recovery started was $372,000 in September, though this April’s median of $365,000 came the closest to that high point. The all-time record high condo price of $397,000 was set in January 2006.

“No doubt rising prices impact sales, but the more dramatic limitation comes from the extremely tight inventory of homes and condos listed for sale,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “There simply are not enough properties available to meet normal demand, which would ease pressure on prices and reduce the number of multiple offers.”

REALTORS® reported a total of 479 active listings at the end of April. That was off 5.5 percent from a year ago, but up from the 414-listing tally of this March.

At the current pace of sales, April’s 479 listings represented a 1.8-month supply, marking the third consecutive month listings were below a 2.0-month inventory. A 6-month supply once was thought to represent a “normal” market, but that large of an inventory has not been seen since 2011.

Of the 273 homes and condos sold last month, 263 or 96.3 percent were standard sales involving traditional buyers and sellers. REALTORS® reported only three foreclosure-related sales, for a 1.1 percent share of the market, and four short payoffs, for a 1.5 percent share.