The median price of an existing home in California in March increased 22 percent and sales increased 4 percent compared to the same period a year ago, the California Association of Realtors reported today.


Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 590,220 in March at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, up the 567,610 sales pace recorded in March 2003.


The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during March 2004 was $428,280, a 22 percent increase over the revised $351,130 median for March 2003, C.A.R. reported. The March 2004 median price increased 8.4 percent compared to a revised $395,060 median price in February.


“The median price of a home continued its run of double-digit price increases last month as buyers scrambled to purchase homes amid concerns of rising mortgage interest rates,” said C.A.R. President Ann Pettijohn.


The median price of a home in the Central Valley, High Desert, Monterey, Monterey County, Northern California, Northern Wine, Orange County, Riverside/San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, North Santa Barbara County and Santa Barbara South Coast regions posted record highs in March, according to C.A.R.


C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in March was 1.6 months, compared to 2.7 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.


Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during March 2004 were: Beverly Hills with $1.5 million, Manhattan Beach with $1.4 million, Los Altos with $1.3 million, Calabasas with $1.1 million, Palos Verdes Estates at $1.1 million, Laguna Beach at $1.1 million, Saratoga at $1 million, Malibu at $1 million, Los Gatos at $1 million and Newport Beach at $975,000.


Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home price increases in March 2004 compared to the same period a year ago were: Beverly Hills, 74.9 percent; Culver City, 62.8 percent; Calabasas, 60.2 percent; Los Gatos, 56.2 percent; Perris, 55.3 percent; Beaumont, 52.5 percent; Palm Springs, 51 percent; Claremont, 50.1 percent; Manhattan Beach, 49.8 percent; Lake Forest, 49.6 percent.



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