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California Home Sales Post Second Consecutive Monthly Gain in September, C.A.R. Reports

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RISMEDIA, October 27, 2010—California home sales posted their second consecutive monthly gain in September 2010, but were down from the same period a year ago, according to data from the California association of Realtors® (C.A.R.). “We’ve seen a gradual improvement in the market over the past few months as we moved away from the influence of the tax credits, which pulled sales forward to the first part of the year,” said C.A.R. President Steve Goddard. “Additionally, the current mortgage moratoria, which weren’t announced until the end of September, wouldn’t have affected September sales.”

Statewide home resale activity rose 3.8% in September to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 466,580, up from August’s revised pace of 449,290, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local Realtor associations statewide. The September pace was down 12.2% from the revised 531,180 sales pace recorded in September 2009.

The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2010 if sales maintained the September 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 sold in California during September was $309,900, down 2.7% from August’s $318,660 median price. However, September’s median price was up 4.5% from the $296,610 median price recorded for the same period a year ago, marking 11 consecutive months of year-over-year price gains.

“The inventory of homes priced under $500,000 continues to be lean, which is driving moderate or significant price appreciation in this price category,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Conversely, the inventory of homes priced $1 million and higher is more than double the inventory of the under-$500,000 range, which is contributing to weaker prices at the high end,” she said.

Additional highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing report for September 2010:

-Contrary to the national picture, the housing supply in California has been below normal throughout 2010. C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes remained relatively unchanged in September at 6.2 months, but was up from the 4.5 months recorded in September 2009. The index was 6.1 months in August. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.

-Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.35% during September 2010, compared with 5.06% in September 2009, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 3.46% in September 2010, compared with 4.59% in September 2009.

-The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 52.5 days in September 2010 compared with 33.5 days for the same period a year ago.

For more information, visit www.car.org.

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