Median existing single-family home prices in California soared from $23,210 in 1968 to $372,720 in 2003, while the national median price jumped from $20,100 to $170,000 in the same period, the California Association of Realtors reported today.

The association’s annual historical data summary for the existing single-family housing market also shows that annual sales activity increased from 216,054 in 1970 to 601,770 in 2003, compared with national sales activity, which increased from 1.61 million in 1970 to 6.1 million in 2003.

The San Francisco and Santa Clara regions had California’s highest median prices for existing single-family homes, the report states. The median price of an existing single-family home in the San Francisco area increased from $128,090 in 1982 to $558,100 in 2003, the report states, and in the Santa Clara area existing median home prices increased from $275,270 in 1989 to $556,470 in 2003. Meanwhile, the High Desert, Riverside/San Bernardino and Central Valley regions had the lowest median prices in the state for existing single-family homes. In the High Desert region, the median price increased from $92,700 in 1989 to $157,300 in 2003.

In 1990, about 51 percent of households in the United States could afford to buy a home, while about 23 percent of households in California could afford a detached home and 37 percent could afford a condominium at that time. Also in 1990, about 52 percent of households in California’s High Desert region could afford a median-priced home, while 13 percent of households in the Monterey region could afford a median-priced home. In 2003, about 26 percent of California households could afford a detached home and 39 percent could afford condos. That number was 17 percent for households in the Monterey and Northern Wine regions, and 62 percent for the High Desert region. Nationally, about 58 percent of households could afford to buy a median-priced home in 2003.

The annual median price for existing condominiums in California climbed from $93,540 in 1980 to $283,310 in 2003. The median time on market for single-family homes dropped from 79 days in 1982 to 28 days in 2003 in California, while the state’s median time on market for condos dropped from 90 days in 1982 to 27 days in 2003, report states.

Nationally, fixed-rate mortgages plunged from 8.04 percent in 1973 to 5.83 percent in 2003, while adjustable-rate mortgages dropped from 11.5 percent in 1984 to 3.76 percent in 2003, CAR also reports. The report is available at no cost to association members, and non-members can purchase the report for $29.95. Members can visit CAR online for a copy of the report, and non-members can order the report by calling (213) 739-8352.

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