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RISMEDIA, April 26, 2007-Home sales decreased 20.8% in March in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home increased 3.2%, the California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) reported this week.

"March sales fell below the levels of recent months in reaction to an uptick in mortgage rates earlier this year along with tighter underwriting standards. The year-to-year decline in March was larger than in recent months in part because sales in March 2006 were the strongest in all of last year," said C.A.R. President Colleen Badagliacco. "Moreover, recent news regarding foreclosures and the subprime situation had an adverse impact on the market psychology of many buyers, leading some to delay their home-purchase decisions."

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 427,110 in March at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local Realtor® associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity decreased 20.8% from the 539,170 sales pace recorded in March 2006.

The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2007 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 2007 was $580,090, a 3.2% increase over the revised $562,130 median for March 2006, C.A.R. reported. The March 2007 median price increased 3.9% compared with February's revised $558,130 median price.

"For the first time since October 2006, time on the market fell below 60 days, as we enter the prime home-selling season," said C.A.R. Vice President Leslie Appleton-Young. "On the other hand, the inventory of homes for sale continued to increase, a sign of price softness in the coming months, as expected."

Highlights of C.A.R.'s resale housing figures for March 2007:

– C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in March 2007 was 8.7 months, compared with 4.7 months for the same period a year ago. 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 6.16% during March 2007, compared with 6.32% in March 2006, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 5.44% in March 2007 compared with 5.42% in March 2006.

– The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 56.2 days in March 2007, compared with 44.5 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.

– Regional MLS sales and price information is contained in the tables that accompany this press release. Regional sales data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors that can influence home sales. The MLS median price and sales data for detached homes are generated from a survey of more than 90 associations of REALTORS® throughout the state. MLS median price and sales data for condominiums are based on a survey of more than 60 associations. The median price for both detached homes and condominiums represents closed escrow sales.

– In a separate report covering more localized statistics generated by C.A.R. and DataQuick Information Systems, 36.4%, or 140 out of 385 cities and communities, showed an increase in their respective median home prices from a year ago. DataQuick statistics are based on county records data rather than MLS information. DataQuick Information Systems is a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates.

– Note: Large changes in local median home prices typically indicate both local home price appreciation, and often, large shifts in the composition of housing market activity. Some of the variations in median home prices may be exaggerated due to compositional changes in housing demand. The DataQuick tables listing median home prices in California cities and counties are accessible through C.A.R. Online at

– Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during March 2007 were: Los Altos, $1,660,000; Manhattan Beach, $1,610,000; Saratoga, $1,569,000; Newport Beach, $1,400,000; Burlingame, $1,311,000; Santa Barbara, $1,100,000; Los Gatos, $1,079,000; Lafayette, $1,050,000; Rancho Palos Verdes, $1,035,000; Danville, $1,033,500.

– Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home price increases in March 2007 compared with the same period a year ago were: Union City, 26.5%; Berkeley, 23.8%; Culver City, 22.2%; Los Angeles, 17.9%; San Rafael, 17.8%; Hawthorne, 15.6%; West Hollywood, 14.6%; Claremont, 14.4%; Morgan Hill, 14%; Laguna Niguel, 13.9%.

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