Although the median price of an existing home in California in September increased 21 percent from its year-ago level, prices retreated from August’s high, the California Association of Realtors reported today.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during September 2004 was $465,540, a 21 percent increase over the revised $384,690 median for September 2003, C.A.R. reported. The September 2004 median price decreased 1.7 percent compared with a revised $473,360 median price in August.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 626,220 in September at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 0.9 percent from the 631,880 sales pace recorded in September 2003.

The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2004 would be if sales maintained the September pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

“The higher inventory of homes for sale has mitigated some of the upward pressure on home prices,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.’s vice president and chief economist. “Year-to-date sales are up 4.5 percent, in line with our expectation that sales for all of 2004 will post and increase above 2003’s record levels.”

Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during September 2004 were: Manhattan Beach, $1,425,000; Beverly Hills, $1,380,000; Laguna Beach, $1,300,000; Coronado, $1,295,000; Los Altos, $1,264,250; Saratoga, $1,259,000; Burlingame, $1,227,000; Palos Verdes Estates, $1,189,000; Carmel, $1,131,500; Newport Beach, $977,750.

Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home price increases in September 2004 compared withs the same period a year ago were:  Beverly Hills, 66.5 percent; Nevada City, 61.9 percent; Yucaipa, 59.3 percent; Truckee, 55.7 percent; Patterson, 54.3 percent; Port Hueneme, 51.4 percent; Paramount, 51.4 percent; Rialto, 50 percent; Inglewood, 50 percent; and Auburn, 49.2 percent.

Los Angeles-based C.A.R. is a state trade organization with more than 150,000 members.

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