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RISMEDIA, July 29, 2009-Home sales increased 20.1% in June in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home declined 26.4%, according to a report released by the California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.).

“Many first-time buyers, especially those who were previously priced out of certain areas, are realizing that tax credits from both the state and federal governments, increased affordability, and low interest rates are creating a prime time to purchase a home,” said C.A.R. president James Liptak. “June marked the 10th consecutive month of positive sales gains, and the fourth month of rising median home prices.

“The statewide median price for existing condos increased for the third consecutive month in June, while sales climbed 27% compared with last year,” said Liptak. “Both of these trends are indicative of increased interest in condos on the part of first-time and other buyers.”

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 514,110 in June 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 increased 20.1% from the revised 427,910 sales pace recorded in June 2008. Sales in June 2009 decreased 6% compared with the previous month.

The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2009 would be if sales maintained the June 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 June 2009 was $274,740, a 26.4% decrease from the revised $373,100 median for June 2008, C.A.R. reported. The June 2009 median price rose 4.2% compared with May’s $263,600 median price.

“Shrinking inventory in the lower end of the market is impacting prices, as many distressed properties are receiving multiple bids,” said C.A.R. chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The year-to-year price declines are diminishing, and are at the lowest level since March 2008. “Although another surge of foreclosures is expected later this year, demand remains strong, so the market may be able to absorb more distressed properties without significantly impacting the median price,” said Appleton-Young.

Highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing figures for June 2009:

-C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in June 2009 was 4.1 months, compared with 7.6 months (revised) 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 5.42% during June 2009, compared with 6.32% in June 2008, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.93% in June 2009, compared with 5.15% in June 2008.

-The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 44.3 days in June 2009, compared with 49 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.
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.

-Statewide, the 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during June 2009 were: Beverly Hills, $1,775,000; Manhattan Beach, $1,475,000; Burlingame, $1,475,000; Los Altos, $1,398,000; Saratoga, $1,375,000; Laguna Beach, $1,265,000; Palo Alto, $1,192,000; Santa Monica, $1,022,000; Cupertino, $1,020,000; Mill Valley, $1,009,000; and Los Gatos, $857,500.

-Statewide, the cities with the greatest median home price increases in June 2009 compared with the same period a year ago were: Laguna Hills, 20.6%; Diamond Bar, 6.2%; Santa Monica, 5.9%; Upland, 5.7%; Thousand Oaks, 4.7%; Placentia, 2.9%; Big Bear Lake, 2.5%; Lake Forest, 2.4%; Walnut, 2.1%; and Dana Point, 1.4%.

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