California Home Sales On The Rise

ales in California increased 63.8% in March compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home declined 39%, the California Association of Realtors (CAR) reports. Additionally, the the group's Unsold Inventory Index fell to 5 months in March, compared with 12.2 months in March 2008. ‘The March sales figure of 522,980 homes indicates that the market continues to be very active,’ says CAR President James Liptak. ‘All of the regions in the state experienced increases in month-to-month raw sales, with the smallest gain in the Sacramento region at 9.7 percent, and the largest gain in the Riverside/San Bernardino region at 32.2 percent.’ The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2009 would be if sales maintained the March pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales. The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during March 2009 was $253,040 – a 39% decrease from the revised $414,520 median for March 2008, CAR reports. The March 2009 median price rose 2.2% compared with February's $247,590 median price. ‘The statewide median price showed the first monthly increase since August 2007 and has remained in the $250,000 range over the past three months,’ adds CAR's chief economist, Leslie Appleton-Young. ‘A number of regions around the state also have registered monthly gains for one or more months since the beginning of this year. While these are welcome signs, it remains to be seen whether home prices have stabilized. ‘While we still face continued weakness in the general economy and expect continued foreclosures, the increased incidence of multiple offers indicates that first-time home buyers and investors are responding to dramatically improved housing affordability," she continues. "Low mortgage rates and house prices, coupled with the federal first-time home buyer tax credit, are having a definite impact on the California housing market." Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 5% during March 2009, compared with 5.97% in March 2008, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.86% in March 2009, compared with 5.12% in March 2008. SOUR


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