Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Statewide sales drop 28 percent

Single-family home sales in California declined 28.7 percent in October compared to the same month last year, the California Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. The median sales price of existing single-family homes slipped 1.5 percent since September but rose 2 percent in the state compared to October 2005, the association also reported.

"While it appears that home sales have stabilized over the past three months, it's too soon to say whether or not the market has bottomed out," said Colleen Badagliacco, association president, in a statement. "We do expect smaller year-over-year declines in home sales for the remainder of the year. Badagliacco noted that price trends are varied at the regional and county level, "with some areas posting year-to-year declines while others continue to register price gains compared with last year."

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California in October was $548,680. "The existing-home market continues to be impacted by the inventory of new homes for sale, especially in areas where there has been excess capacity since the start of the year," said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R. vice president and chief economist. The unsold inventory of existing homes is at 7.2 months -- compared with 3.4 months in October 2005, she also noted. "Higher inventory levels are a key factor in the moderation of home-price appreciation." An unsold inventory of greater than six months is generally considered to indicate a buyer's market.

The 30-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 6.36 percent during October 2006, compared with 6.07 percent in October 2005, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 5.55 percent in October 2006, compared with 4.86 percent in October 2005.
In a separate report covering more localized statistics generated by C.A.R. and research company DataQuick Information Systems, 52.4 percent of 372 cities and communities in the state had an increase in their respective median home prices compared to a year ago.

Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during October 2006 were: Newport Beach, $1.33 million; Burlingame, $1.26 million; Los Gatos, $1.2 million; Mill Valley, $1.06 million; Santa Barbara, $1.03 million; Danville, $970,000; Cupertino, $924,500; San Clemente, $910,000; Yorba Linda, $886,000; and Rancho Palos Verdes, $865,000.
Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home-price increases in October 2006 compared with the same period a year ago were: Taft, 37 percent; Inglewood, 30.1 percent; Barstow, 25.8 percent; Walnut Creek, 24 percent; Los Gatos, 21.8 percent; California City, 21.6 percent; Monrovia, 19.8 percent; Hercules, 19.6 percent; Ridgecrest, 18.8 percent; and Tehachapi, 18.5 percent, according to the report.


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