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HOUSING SALES SEE DECREASE HOME NUMBERS DOWN 12%.

Byline: Susan Abram Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - After years of increases, sales of single-family homes and condominiums dipped last month in the Santa Clarita Valley - a result of more inventory and savvy buyers, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

Realtors closed escrow on 352 single-family homes in July, down 9.7 percent from July 2003 and 12 percent less than in June.

Condominium sales fell 12.7 percent in July, compared with the same time last year, and were down 27.9 percent from June.

Realtors said that while home resale activity remained robust, a dramatic increase in homes for sale means homebuyers aren't hiking prices by bidding against each other and that sellers may now be forced to rethink their list price.

``The big chase for housing that saw multiple buyers bidding up the price on every property is slowing if not gone for good,'' said Doreen Chastain, president of the Santa Clarita Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. ``I don't expect to see many more properties sold at $50,000 over the list price like just a few months ago.''

Chastain said sellers remain reluctant to reduce the list price, but buyers are becoming savvy.

``They know intuitively when a property is overpriced,'' she said. ``Unlike earlier this year, buyers are now willing to wait for a better price, a better house or both.''

The association reported 1,126 active listings by the end of July, an increase of 67.7 percent from a year ago, and 34 percent from June.

Though seen as an improvement, the inventory is still lower than in years past. Usually, 3,000 active listings brings the market into balance.

``It's still a seller's market, but less so than two months ago,'' said Jim Link, the association's executive vice president. ``There are plenty of people who want to buy, so the slight drop in sales suggests that sellers need to understand that the market has changed and list prices must be realigned to the new reality.''

The median price of single-family homes and condominiums also fell in July, compared with months past, but remained strong compared to a year ago.

The median price for a single-family home in July was $499,900, or 26.6 percent higher than last year, but a decrease of 1 percent from the record high of $502,000 in June.

Condominiums, too, saw prices go down last month. The median in July was $317,000, down 2.4 percent from June, but up 26.6 percent from July, 2003.

Susan Abram, (661) 257-5257

susan.abram(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 14, 2004
Words:434
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