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MEDIAN PRICE OF A HOME IN SCV UP 11% IN TWO MONTHS HIGHER INTEREST RATES DON'T SLOW DEMAND IN RED-HOT MARKET.

Byline: Nicholas Grudin Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - The median cost of homes skyrocketed to $395,000 in July, continuing a record-setting summer for pricing, according to figures released Thursday.

Despite rising interest rates, the appreciation of Santa Clarita real estate has been on a fervent pace with average prices rising from $355,000 in May to $395,000 in July, up 11 percent.

``It's indicative of how strong the housing market is, and how tight it is, especially up in Santa Clarita where demand far exceeds the supply,'' said Jim Link, the executive officer of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

This year, the Santa Clarita housing market is on pace to outdo its annual median pricing record by 16 percent.

In 2002, the average price of homes in Santa Clarita hit an annual record high of $313,000.

So far this year, that record is being shattered, with the annual average home price to date marked at $362,000.

The median price was $380,000 in June.

Tacie Jares, the president of the Santa Clarita branch of the Southland Realtors Association, has been predicting that the median price of Santa Clarita homes would top $400,000 before the end of the year.

Thursday, as Jares worked on closing nine home sales, she was not surprised by the news of the July price increase.

``Even with the interest rates, the market is still strong,'' Jares said.

The median price of Santa Clarita condominiums also rose substantially, going from $240,000 in June to $250,500 in July, a 4 percent increase.

But Link worries that the bull market may buck some riders.

``With prices going as high as they are, you reach a point where buyers will not be able to afford to buy homes,'' Link said.

Link believes that the rising interest rates, which began in July, will not be reflected in the market until this month and beyond.

``First-time buyers have been able to afford it because the interest rates were so historically low, so as interest goes up, that will equate to a lot of people not being able to afford the home that they'd like to buy,'' Link said.

The Southland Association of Realtors will release more extensive housing market statistics next week, Link said.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

(color) Despite rising interest rates, sales of homes like these under construction in Plum Canyon continue strongly. The median price of a home in the Santa Clarita Valley is now $395,000.

David R. Crane/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Aug 15, 2003
Words:420
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